April 22, 2011, 10:44 AM

Bluestem files to go public

The web accounted for 44% of total sales in fiscal 2010, the IPO says.

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Bluestem Brands Inc., the Minneapolis direct marketing company formerly known as Fingerhut, sees a bigger future as a public company—and as a bigger online retailer.

Bluestem, No. 88 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, on Thursday filed for an initial public offering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Bluestem, which has yet to set a date for going public, expects to raise as much as $150 million by becoming a public company. The proceeds would be used to pay down debt, including about $30 million in subordinated secured notes due to be redeemed in November 2013, according to Bluestem’s IPO filing.

The filing also reveals that Bluestem, which sells online at Fingerhut.com and Gettington.com, over time has made e-commerce a bigger part of the company’s operation. Web sales in fiscal 2010 were $186.13 million, or 44%, of total sales of $423.1 million. In 2005, web sales accounted for just 25% of total sales, although in its IPO filing Bluestem didn’t break out any specific figures for that year. The Bluestem IPO also didn’t include any web sales figures for fiscal 2011, which ended in late January, or any previous years.

Other financials included in the Bluestem IPO filing include:

  • Total sales for fiscal 2011, ended Jan. 28, increased year over 23.2% to $521.3 million from $423.1 million in fiscal 2010.
  • Net loss in fiscal 2011 was $11.5 million compared with net income of $9.2 million in fiscal 2010.
  • Overall catalog and online inventory includes about 30,000 SKUs.
  • The company’s primary customers are low- to middle-income consumers with annual household income below $75,000.
  • IPO underwriters include Deutsche Bank Securities, Piper Jaffray, Oppenheimer & Co. and William Blair & Co.

Bluestem Brands is latest retailer to file for an IPO. On April 1, GNC Holdings Inc. also announced plans to become a public company. GNC Holdings is the parent company of General Nutrition Centers, No. 237 in the Top 500 Guide.

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