October 26, 2010, 4:19 PM

Vera Bradley raises $176 million in an IPO

The multichannel retailer plans to use the proceeds to repay notes due to shareholders.

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Vera Bradley Retail Stores Inc., a multichannel retailer of accessories, handbags and other items, sold 11 million shares at $16 a share during its initial public offering Friday, raising a total of $176 million. The company says it will use the proceeds to repay notes due to shareholders.

Vera Bradley will trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol VRA.

The IPO included 4 million shares of common stock and 7 million shares offered by shareholders.

Vera Bradley, No. 252 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, will continue to grow its e-commerce business through focused marketing efforts, online merchandising initiatives, and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the company said in its prospectus. The retailer says it has captured 900,000 customer e-mail addresses—with many customers providing age, occupation and location data—through online marketing and social networking sites. As of July 31, Vera Bradley had over 250,000 Facebook fans and a growing number of Twitter followers.

During fiscal year 2010, Vera Bradley invested in upgrades to its web site enabling it to provide customized shopping experiences to online shoppers and allowing better integration with other sites such as Facebook, according to the prospectus. During that period, there were over 23 million visits to VeraBradley.com.

Vera Bradley operates 31 full-price stores and two outlet stores in the U.S.

Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. and Piper Jaffrey & Co. acted as joint managers of the IPO. Wells Fargo Securities LLC, KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. and Lazard Capital Markets acted as co-managers of the offering.

In its S1 statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Vera Bradley reported:

  • Direct sales were $63.5 million for the six months ended July 31, 2010, up by 47% from $43.2 million in the six months ended August 1, 2009. Direct sales include revenue from Vera Bradley stores and e-commerce sales. The company did not break out web sales.
  • Sales through other retailers, which Vera Bradley labels “indirect” sales, totaled $101.5 million for the six months ended July 31, up by 15.6% from $87.8 million in the prior year period.
  • Net income was $25.9 million for the six months ended July 31, up by 98% from $13.1 million in the prior year.
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