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NEW YORK — Shares of New York & Co. were on the move in the market Thursday as the price jumped 13.5 percent in its trading debut.<BR><BR>The stock, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NWY, closed at $19.30, up...

NEW YORK — Shares of New York & Co. were on the move in the market Thursday as the price jumped 13.5 percent in its trading debut.

The stock, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NWY, closed at $19.30, up $2.30

The IPO for the women’s apparel retailer was priced at $17 per share, so the offering of 10 million shares raised $170 million. The company itself will not receive any of the proceeds from the sale of shares. The firm was owned by Limited Brands Inc. from 1985 to 2002, prior to its sale to Bear Stearns Merchant Capital II.

Bear Stearns Merchant Capital II, which sold some of its shares, will retain 75.8 percent of the retailer’s outstanding common stock, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The merchant banking firm, an affiliate of investment banking firm Bear, Stearns & Co., has had success with its investments in retail firms. In May 2002 it successfully took public specialty retailer Aeropostale.

New York & Co., according to a filing with the SEC, operates 474 stores in 43 states. It began operations in 1918. Once known as Lerner New York, it targets women ages 25 to 45 with annual household income ranging from $40,000 to $75,000. The company began the transition to its New York & Co. brand during 2000.

The regulatory filing also said the retailer posted comparable-store sales growth of 5.3 percent in fiscal 2003 and a 14.1 percent gain for the six months ended July 31, 2004. Comps increased 12.4 percent in the four-week period ended Aug. 28, 2004, versus 7.6 percent a year ago, and rose 4.6 percent in the five-week period ended Oct. 2, compared with 14 percent in the same year-ago period.

The company’s growth strategies include expanding its store base, adding to its existing accessories products category and increasing customer loyalty.

— V.M.Y.

This story first appeared in the October 8, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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