Fat Face Rides IPO Wave With London Listing
The high street fashion chain Fat Face will on Thursday become the latest big name from the retail sector to declare its desire to seek a listing on the London Stock Exchange.
Sky News has learnt the private equity-backed chain has lined up a trio of new board members to steer it through its flotation.
The new recruits include Darren Shapland, the former Carpetright chief executive and one-time J Sainsbury finance director, who recently joined Poundland as a non-executive director ahead of its initial public offering (IPO).
Sources said the other new directors would be named as Deborah Baker, the director for people at BSkyB, the parent company of Sky News, and Maria Kyriacou, the managing director of global entertainment at ITV.
Fat Face's push to go public means it will join a flurry of other high street retailers which have taken advantage of the improving UK economy and investor appetite by selling shares.
So far this year, Appliances Online, Card Factory, Pets At Home and Poundland are among the companies to announce listings, with the sofa retailer DFS poised to do so in the coming months.
Fat Face is chaired by Sir Stuart Rose, the former Marks & Spencer (M&S) boss, who also chairs the online grocer Ocado.
The fashion group's chief executive Anthony Thompson, another ex-M&S executive, told The Times last week that he was keen to accelerate the expansion of the business.
Fat Face has more than 200 stores in the UK and Ireland, and plans to open shops in Boston in the US during the next 18 months.
People close to the situation said Fat Face's announcement of its intention to float would say it was seeking gross proceeds from investors of tens of millions of pounds to fund its growth.
The chain was established in 1988 selling T-shirts in the Alps.
Its controlling shareholder, Bridgepoint Capital, has been an investor since 2007, and has not had an entirely trouble-free period of ownership, having to inject additional capital during difficult trading conditions.
However, the company has been performing strongly in recent times, with sales understood to have approached £180m in 2013, and robust like-for-like revenue growth.
Profits during the year are understood to have topped £31m,
Further details of Fat Face's financial performance are expected to be disclosed on Thursday.
Bridgepoint, which is expected to reduce its controlling stake by selling shares in the IPO, and Fat Face both declined to comment.
Citi and Jefferies, the investment banks, are handling the flotation.