NEW YORK — The White House Inc. expects to join the ranks of publicly held specialty retailers shortly.

The Glen Burnie, Md.-based retailer of black-and-white apparel for women, last week filed a Form S-1 registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission saying it intends to raise $50 million in an initial public offering. It plans to use $11.8 million of the net proceeds to make required distributions to common stockholders and another $1.7?million to fund capital expenditures and pay expenses incurred in connection with the planned relocation of its headquarters and distribution center. The rest of the money is expected to go toward capital expenditures and general corporate purposes, including the opening of new stores and working capital.

The White House has applied for a Nasdaq listing under the symbol WHBK. The IPO will be handled by William Blair & Co., SG Cowen and RBC Capital Markets. The preliminary prospectus didn’t disclose the date of the IPO, the number of shares or their price. That information is expected in later filings.

White House currently operates 96 stores averaging 1,457 square feet and said in its filing it sees the potential for a 400-unit chain. This year, 22 stores are planned, with between 25 and 30 slated for 2004. In fiscal 2002, it generated $3.9 million in net income, about half of it attributable to common shareholders, on a sales increase of 35.2 percent to $67 million. Comparable-store sales have averaged 11.5 percent over the last three years and rose 16.3 percent last year.

Most of its merchandise is marketed under its White?House-Black?Market private brand.

Aeropostale was the last apparel specialty retailer to go through an IPO, raising $225 million in March 2002.

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