NEW YORK — J. Crew on Wednesday said it is extending its tender offer and consent solicitation.

The offer, in connection with its 9 3/4 percent senior subordinated notes due 2014, will expire at 9 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time, on May 1, unless it is further extended. Meanwhile, some financial sources said while they still expect an initial public offering from the preppy catalogue and retail firm this year, an IPO probably wouldn’t materialize until possibly the second or third quarter.

Financial sources said the new Crewcuts concept for boys and girls that will be unveiled later this month, and another retail concept that J. Crew is developing would bolster the IPO “story” to potential investors. Some of those sources said bankers working for J. Crew had heavily promoted the Crewcuts concept late last year before the company, without any reason, pulled its planned IPO and postponed it until sometime this year.

The Crewcuts summer collection will arrive March 31 in a shop-in-shop format at 10 J. Crew stores, ranging from 600 to 1,200 square feet. In addition, a 2,000-square-foot freestanding Crewcuts store, with 1,400 square feet of selling space, will open at the NorthPark Center in Dallas on April 25. The other retail concept in development is completely dissociated from the J. Crew name, with a different price point and target market than its core J. Crew business.

In the latest reporting period, third-quarter operating income for the 13 weeks ended Oct. 29 increased by 69 percent to $22 million from $13 million in the year-ago period. Income rose to $3 million compared with a $10 million loss in the prior year, due to the higher operating income and a $4 million decline in interest expense from debt refinancing in the fourth quarter of 2004.

Revenues for the three months rose 8 percent to $223 million from $206 million in the year-ago quarter. Store sales, including J. Crew’s 158 full-price units and 45 outlets, gained 5 percent to $161 million, while same-store sales were up 3 percent. Direct sales, which include Internet and catalogue results, spiked 19 percent to $56 million compared with $47 million in the prior year period.

This story first appeared in the March 2, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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