After pricing at the high end of its expected range, Vera Bradley Inc. ended its first day of over the-counter trading by spiking up 55.3 percent in its initial public offering debut.

This story first appeared in the October 22, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The 28-year-old handbag and accessories firm, founded by Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia R. Miller, priced its IPO of 11 million shares of common stock at $16 a share, raising $176 million. The shares, which trade under the symbol “VRA,” opened at $23 and closed at $24.85.

Based in Fort Wayne, Ind., the company sells through a network of 3,300 independent specialty retailers, company-owned stores and on its Web site. The firm operates 31 full-price stores and two outlet locations. According to the prospectus, it plans to open nine full-price stores and three outlets in 2011, with at least another 14 stores each year thereafter for the next five years.

In the year ended Jan. 30, the firm posted $43.2 million in income on revenues of $288.9 million. In the six months ended July 31, income was $26 million on revenues of $165.1 million.

Michael Ray, chief executive officer, said the company-owned stores average 1,800 square feet. He said Vera Bradley is focused on expanding distribution in underpenetrated markets in the U.S.

“We have the opportunity to grow the brand here. The brands will travel overseas, and we’ll evaluate those opportunities,” he said.

The company also has an office in China to handle production and sourcing for its products.

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