Burlington IPO Bows With Strong Demand

Shares of Burlington Stores Inc. shot up 47.1 percent to $25.01 in the retailer’s first day of trading as a public firm on Wednesday.

Shares of Burlington Stores Inc. shot up 47.1 percent to $25.01 in the retailer’s first day of trading as a public firm on Wednesday after the shares were priced at $17 the night before.

This story first appeared in the October 3, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Shares hit an intraday trading high of $25.62.

The company in June filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public and had hoped to raise $200 million. A total of 13.3 million shares were priced Tuesday night at higher than the originally expected $14 to $16 range due to high demand. The underwriters have an overallotment option in which they can sell another 2 million shares.

At $17 a share, Burlington raised $226.7 million. The company was taken private in 2006 when it was acquired by Bain Capital for $2.06 billion. Following the initial public offering, Bain continues to be a majority stakeholder. The proceeds from the IPO will be used to redeem certain senior notes and for general corporate purposes.

The company began a substantial turnaround initiative when it hired Tom Kingsbury in December 2008 as president and chief executive officer.

Under his initiatives, the company has invested in technology and has built a data-driven testing culture. The retailer has also fine tuned its focus on its core female customer, who is between ages 25 and 49 with annual household income of between $25,000 and $75,000. The retailer has also improved product offerings in women’s ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories to increase the frequency of visits and average spend of its core customer.

In a telephone interview shortly after shares of Burlington began trading, Kingsbury said the core customer shops fairly frequently at the stores and that the women’s business continues to be a strong category for the off-pricer. While much of the heavy lifting has been done, Kingsbury said there are “still opportunities across the board to grow women’s apparel within our stores.”

The retailer operates 503 stores, and has opened on average 23 stores a year since being acquired by Bain. Kingsbury said that rate of store openings still holds due to the opportunities available across the U.S.

For the year ended Feb. 2, or fiscal 2012, the company posted net income of $25.3 million on net sales of $4.13 billion.

Burlington Stores, which operates the Burlington Coat Factory stores, trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “BURL.”