Shares of J. Jill Group Inc. opened its first day of trading Thursday at $12.75, slightly lower than its initial pricing of $13 a share.
The company earlier this year said it planned to sell 11.7 million shares, although Wednesday night’s pricing was under the projected range of $14 to $16 a share. The shares are trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol JILL. Private equity firm TowerBrook Capital will continue to own more than 50 percent of J. Jill’s shares, leaving it in control of the retailer.
J. Jill is a women’s specialty apparel and accessories retailer with more than 275 stores across the U.S., as well as an e-commerce site and a catalogue business.
Based in Quincy, Mass., today’s IPO is the second one for the retailer. Carl and Mary Ann Lipsky founded the company in 1959. They sold the business to DM Management in 1987. It was publicly traded until 2006 when Hingham, Mass.-based The Talbots Inc. — another women’s specialty retailer — acquired the business for over $500 million. Talbots subsequently sold to operation in 2009 to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $75 million. Golden Gate two years ago sold a majority stake in the business to Arcapita in 2011, and the two then sold the business to TowerBrook Capital Partners for an undisclosed amount.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in February, the company described itself as an “emerging growth company.”
In the shelf registration, the company said growth plans include the addition of at least 100 store locations, the broadening of certain product categories such as petites and accessories and the expansion of subbrands Pure Jill and Wearever. The company also said more than 70 percent of its client base have college educations and average household income of more than $155,000.
Between 2012 and 2015, the women’s specialty chain posted net sales that grew to $562 million from $432 million, and saw net sales grow again to $617 million for the year ended Oct. 29. Net income for the year ended Oct. 29 was $23.5 million. Back in 2012, the company posted a net loss of $3.6 million.