MILAN — Online retailer Yoox Group is stepping up preparations for its initial public offering and could list before yearend, despite the delicate state of the financial markets, according to sources.

The Bologna, Italy-based e-tailer aims to file the necessary documentation to the Italian stock market regulatory body Consob by September or early October, sources said. The commission usually takes 60 days to approve a prospectus, meaning Yoox could float in December at the earliest. Goldman Sachs and Mediobanca are underwriting the transaction, and Eidos Partners is acting as financial adviser.

This story first appeared in the July 10, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Yoox founder and chief executive officer Federico Marchetti told WWD in February the company had penciled this November or May 2010 as possible windows for an IPO, but that no date was set. A company spokeswoman underscored that position Thursday, saying: “We’re continuing to work on it.” She gave no other details.

While industry peers Prada and Ferragamo have shelved indefinitely their plans to go public, citing market conditions, Yoox’s venture capital backers are eager for the nine-year-old company to list sooner rather than later to cash in some or all of their investment, sources said.

Looking at Yoox’s growth prospects, its IPO is likely to attract interest among small cap investors. The group posted a 48 percent increase in revenues in 2008 to 101 million euros, or $148.6 million, and more than doubled its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to 9.2 million euros, or $13.5 million. It is expected to generate similar gains this year, providing a ray of sunshine at an otherwise gloomy time for the sector and reinforcing the Internet’s importance as a channel for fashion and luxury goods sales.

Yoox operates the and online multibrand stores and develops and runs e-commerce sites for brands including Emporio Armani, Diesel, Moschino and Valentino. It also offers Web marketing services and interactive design and digital experience services.

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