Apparel Brand Madewell Looking to Depart J.Crew With an IPO

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Youth-focused apparel brand Madewell is planning to split off from struggling parent company J.Crew and break out on its own by going public as the Madewell Group, according to CNN Business. 

Madewell has yet to list an IPO price or say when it plans to go public. According to CNN, its next step is to meet with investors and gauge interest in its IPO.

Madewell was launched in 2006 by former J.Crew CEO Mickey Drexler – shortly after the parents’ IPO – as a boutique denim brand and expanded into wardrobe basics, shoes and other accessories. It has pitched itself to investors as an inclusive, sustainability-focused brand geared toward millennials.

According to CNN, Madewell had 2018 sales of more than $600 million, more than double its 2014 sales of $248 million. The brand operates 132 small U.S. stores, with 60% of its customers in its membership program last year and 37% of its sales from ecommerce.

Libby Wadle will reportedly continue as Madewell’s CEO. J. Crew has seen declining sales and closed stores and has $1.7 billion in debt as many shoppers have moved on from its preppy aesthetic. CEO James Brett stepped down in November after only 16 months, ending a turbulent tenure; the position remains vacant.

Madewell plans to grow its brand awareness by opening 10 to 15 3,000-square-foot stores this year, expanding its product selection and potentially expanding into other countries.

In a similar story to Madewell, Old Navy split off from its less successful parent Gap this past March. Old Navy plans to open 800 stores in the coming years, while Gap has been downsizing its doors.