By  on July 26, 2010

Body Central Acquisition Corp. HAS filed a shelf registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an $86.3 million initial public offering.

Founded in 1973, the value-priced retailer operates 196 stores under the nameplates Body Central and Body Shop across 23 states. It sells apparel and accessories under the labels Body Central and Lipstick.

The Jacksonville, Fla.-based specialty apparel retailer’s primary customers are women in their late teens and 20s.

A controlling interest in Body Central was sold in October 2006 to a group of investors led by WestView Capital Partners, which holds a 31.6 percent stake. PineBridge Investments holds a 29.8 percent stake.

The plan is to trade shares of Body Central over-the-counter under the symbol BODY. Piper Jaffray and Jefferies & Co. are the co-lead underwriters.

While it operates in some of the same U.S. malls as units of The Body Shop International plc, the firm is not affiliated with the British cosmetics and beauty firm. It granted the U.K. firm a license to operate stores under the Body Shop trademark in 1991. “Our current business is focused on developing the Body Central and Lipstick brands and is moving away from the use of the Body Shop name for our stores and as a brand,” the SEC filing said.

While still below historic levels, IPO activity accelerated during the first half of the year with new listings on U.S. exchanges totaling 66 and raising $9.2 billion, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers Transaction Services. During the first half of 2009, there were 14 IPOs that raised $2.3 billion.

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