By and and  on January 2, 2014

Investor confidence is back in the equity markets.

If 2013 was a watershed year in the initial public offering cycle, then 2014 could see more firms eyeing the stock market.

According to IPO investment advisory firm Renaissance Capital, global IPO issuance rebounded in 2013, with annual IPO proceeds increasing 37.5 percent to $137 billion. That’s the largest rise in proceeds since 2004, when U.S. IPOs had annual proceeds totaling $51.9 billion. That was the year that saw Google’s $1.7 billion IPO.

The Renaissance report noted that North America was the “largest contributor in IPO issuance” last year. Increased activity in the U.S. led to a 28.9 percent gain in proceeds raised in the region, or $51.7 billion compared with $40.1 billion raised in 2012. In 2013, North America also saw an 81.3 percent jump in the number of companies hitting the stock market, or 145 firms that completed IPOs versus 80 in 2012.

In the Asia-Pacific region, IPO proceeds raised inched up 7.7 percent to $44.9 billion as 91 firms went public, one company more than in 2012. That region was impacted by a shutdown of China’s A-Share IPO market as the country put a hold on equity offerings to redo the regulatory framework for stock market listings. Europe saw a pickup in offerings as the region moved past the effects of the 2011 sovereign debt crisis. The continent saw IPO proceeds almost tripling from 2012, or $26.9 billion raised via 46 offerings versus $9.9 billion raised through 15 IPOs in 2012.

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There was no shortage of fashion and retail companies going public last year. Nine companies successfully completed their IPOs in the U.S. and overseas, with the U.S. market leading the way with six. All had at least the partial backing of financial sponsors — either through private equity or firms that had been venture capital funded start-ups — and all were partial flotations.

First out of the gate last year was beauty firm Coty Inc. on June 13, raising nearly $1 billion. Lapo Elkann’s Italia Independent Group was next, listing on Milan’s AIM for small-cap stocks on June 30, raising $20 million.

Coupon site RetailMeNot Inc. was the first out in the second half, raising $191 million on July 19. Then there was a lull until Oct. 2, when Burlington Stores Inc., formerly Burlington Coat Factory, went public and raised $226.6 million. The much anticipated IPO of Twitter was next on Nov. 7, raising $1.8 billion. Children’s e-commerce flash-sale site Zulily Inc. raised $253 million when it went public on Nov. 15.

Boca Raton, Fla.-based private equity firm Sun Capital Partners saw two of its portfolio firms complete their public market debuts. Women’s value retailer Bonmarché Holdings, which Sun’s affiliate Sun European Partners acquired in January 2012 (which is not related to the Le Bon Marché department store in Paris), floated on London’s AIM on Nov. 20, raising $64.4 million. Contemporary brand Vince Holding Corp., which Sun acquired through its acquisition of Kellwood Co. in 2008, followed on Nov. 22 on the New York Stock Exchange, raising $200 million.

Last but not least, Moncler SpA finally surfaced on Milan’s stock market on Dec. 16, and its much-anticipated IPO raised $1.08 billion, including an over-allotment option.

Both Coty and Moncler, each raising in the $1 billion range, were the largest IPOs in the fashion and beauty space since Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. raised $944 million in its December 2011 flotation in Hong Kong.

With the exception of Coty, which has faced challenges in the mass fragrance and nail categories, all the other new stock market listings in 2013 have seen their share prices trade slightly higher than their opening day closes. The new fashion stocks have been boosted in part by the rise in all major global market indices last year.

Outside of the IPOs last year, several stocks in the fashion and retail space saw gains.

In the U.S., shares of Zale Corp. saw a 284 percent jump to end the year at $15.77 as it continues to see same-store sales growth, while Fifth & Pacific Cos. Inc. came in second, with a 158 percent gain to end the year at $32.07, boosted by the sale of its Juicy Couture brand and the completion of the sale of Lucky Brand coming up in the first quarter. Cache Inc., which saw operating metrics improve, rose 181 percent to $5.43.

There were losers as well, though. Among those firms that saw their shares heading south in 2013 was Lululemon Athletica Inc., down 22.6 percent to end the year at $59.03, hurt by the backdrop of a weak fourth-quarter selling environment, anticipated change in its chief executive officer and execution issues, such as that surrounding its Luon yoga pant. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. saw its shares fall 53.6 percent to $9.15 at yearend due to all the trials and tribulations from the return of former ceo Myron “Mike” Ullman 3rd, questions about its turnaround and an intra-board fight. Coldwater Creek Inc. was one of the worst performers for the year, down 84.4 percent to 75 cents as the firm tries to right the ship, exploring options that include the sale of the company.

As for sectors, the teen specialty retailers as a whole saw double-digit percent losses in share price during 2013. Leading the losers were Abercrombie & Fitch Co., down 30 percent to $32.91; American Eagle Outfitters, falling 28 percent to $14.40, and Aéropostale Inc., losing 30.1 percent during the year to end at $9.09. The Wet Seal Inc. and Urban Outfitters Inc. fared better, down 1.1 percent to $2.73 and 5.7 percent to $37.10, respectively. Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. was the exception, up 110 percent to end the year at $3.34.

 

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