The market has come up with its first price for The RealReal Inc.
The luxury reseller priced its initial public offering at $20 a share, putting its valuation at $1.65 billion. The price is higher than the $17 to $19 range the company projected in a regulatory filing earlier this month. The IPO raised $300 million.
The company starts trading Friday on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “REAL,” anchoring its place in an expanding market for personal luxury goods. In a filing this month with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company cited a 2018 report by the consulting firm Bain & Co. that said the market for personal luxury goods was a “record high” 260 billion euros, or roughly $294 billion.
Founded in 2011 by chief executive officer Julie Wainwright, the luxury consignment shop has taken its place among designer goods resellers that include Vestiaire Collective and What Goes Around Comes Around. It resells apparel, shoes, handbags and jewelry, art prints and furniture. The RealReal has put its selling point this way — in a crowded marketplace of more affordable second-hand labels, it deploys experts to ensure quality and authenticity.
“The existing luxury resale market is outdated, fragmented, difficult to access and laden with counterfeit goods,” the company said in its SEC filing. “We are transforming the luxury resale experience by addressing these challenges.”
But such claims have fazed some high-end brands. The RealReal is battling Chanel in federal court in New York, fending off Chanel’s claims of trademark infringement and sale of counterfeits. Chanel, which filed the suit in November, claimed The RealReal has sold at least some counterfeit Chanel as the real deal. The RealReal has rejected the allegations and responded that it is diligent about policing counterfeits, and that it “always cooperates with brands and law enforcement to identify sources of stolen or counterfeit goods, and destroys counterfeit items,” according to court documents.
In any case, The RealReal has reported increasing orders and revenues. In 2018, it processed some 1.6 million orders, a 42 increase from the previous year, and brought in revenues of more than $207 million. But it also has $8 million in debt as of the end of 2018, when it incurred nearly $211 million in operating costs.
The RealReal sells online and also has three retail stores. In May, it opened up a 3,000-square-foot store and luxury consignment office in the Upper East Side in Manhattan. Its other two stores are in SoHo in Manhattan and in Los Angeles.