J.Crew’s Madewell Brand Files for IPO

The fast-growing denim brand will split from its parent company to help raise much-needed cash.
Lauren MuskettSeptember 20, 2019
J.Crew’s Madewell Brand Files for IPO

Madewell, J.Crew’s fast-growing denim brand, plans to spit from its parent company and go public.

The company said Chinos Holdings, its subsidiary, will be renamed Madewell Group and plans to list its stock on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ, a securities filing showed. The company has not revealed the number of shares or the price range of the Madewell offering.

J.Crew said that the move will help “maximize value and position” for both brands for long-term growth, and deleverage and strengthen the company’s balance sheet. The clothing company, which has lost sales and closed stores, carries a debt load exceeding $1.7 billion, according to recent reports.

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“While J.Crew continues to struggle, Madewell has emerged as the company’s crown jewel, accounting for the majority of profits,” said Raya Sokolyanska, senior analyst at Moody’s. If the Madewell IPO is successful it could help J.Crew pay down a “meaningful portion” of its debt.

The company’s top priority is to return its flagship brand to profitability and sustain momentum for quickly growing its Madewell Group apparel business.

In the first half of the 2019 fiscal year, Madewell sales increased by 15% to $272.6 million and comparable sales increased 10%. In the second quarter of this year, Madewell sales increased by 15% to $139.7 million.

Madewell reached more than $600 million in sales during its 2018 fiscal year, up from $248 million in 2014, according to filings.

“In some ways, we will continue on as we have – growing organically and authentically, with our customers at the center of every decision we make,” explained Madewell CEO Libby Wadle. “But we will also focus on considerable growth through new opportunities, including driving out-sized growth in e-commerce, expanding our product range and further developing our membership program.”

The company, as of August, operated 132 small U.S. stores, primarily in upscale shopping malls. An estimated 60 % of the customers were in its membership program and 37% of its sales last year came from online purchases.