SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Big Dogs Holdings Inc., which sells casual apparel under the Big Dogs name, raised $39.2 million before underwriting costs from selling 2.8 million shares in an initial public offering.
The offering was priced Friday at $14 a share, the high end of its projected $12-to-$14 price range. The stock opened at 15 1/2 and rose as high as 15 3/4 in over-the-counter trading, but returned back to 14 by the day’s close.
Proceeds will be used to repay debt. Existing shareholders sold another 1.2 million shares in the offering.
Big Dogs, founded in 1983, has been rapidly growing over the last several years by expanding its store count from five at the end of 1992 to 134 as of July 31, with most of the stores in outlet malls.
Its lines, which include T-shirts, shorts, knits and woven shirts, fleece, loungewear and boxer shorts, feature ‘Big Dog Attitude’ themes with slogans such as ‘If You Can’t Run With the Big Dogs Stay on the Porch,” “Unless You’re the Lead Dog Scenery Never Changes,” and “Just Chew It.”
In the half ended July 31, Big Dogs’ losses widened to $1.8 million from $1.5 million. Sales jumped 27.9 percent to $31.1 million, with same-store sales ahead 9.6 percent. Gross margins expanded to 57.6 percent of sales from 56.4 percent, but selling and interest costs increased as a result of infrastructure investments.
The offering is underwritten by Robertson, Stephens & Co., Hambrecht & Quist and Needham & Co.

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