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FatFace Joins The IPO Party

FatFace Group has become the latest company to announce its intention to float on the London Stock Exchange, following launches earlier this year from Boohoo.com, Pets At Home, Poundland, AO World and JustEat, while the likes of Saga and Lloyds’ spin-off TSB are likely to happen soon.

Management are hoping to raise £110m from the flotation, comprising of selling a portion of ordinary shares held by Bridgepoint Funds — which acquired a majority holding in the business in 2007, and owns 70% of the business — alongside a primary issue of new ordinary shares.

fatfaceFatFace sells ‘outdoor’ clothing and accessories, leaning towards fashionable rather than out-and-out practical in my humble opinion (rather than, say, rock-climbers and the ilk, it’s popular with mums who have an active lifestyle, for instance), and began in 1988 when Jules Leaver and Tim Slade began selling t-shirts and sweatshirts in Meribel and Val d’Isère, with a first UK store opening four years later in Fulham.

It now has 208 stores across the UK and Ireland, boasts a strong multi-channel sales proposition, and not least the former Marks & Spencer head Sir Stuart Rose as chairman, who has shown in the past that he can make high-street retail a success with M&S’s turnaround. FatFace CEO Anthony Thompson also has pedigree in this arena, being a former retail director of M&S, senior vice-president of Gap Europe and managing director of the ‘George’ fashion brand owned by ASDA.

The flotation comes off the back of a strong period, with revenue growth of 12.4% in the 35 weeks to 1 February 2014 against the comparative period last year, and like-for-like revenue growth of 8.4%. Since those results, FatFace has seen total sales continue to grow in line with the trend seen in that period.

However, it’s often best practice to wait until after a company floats, though, to buy in if you’re interested, in order to avoid the precipitous rises and falls that come with early buying and selling.

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