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Designer Cole Haan Files With SEC for IPO

Cole Haan, the designer and retailer of footwear and accessories owned by the private-equity firm Apax Partners, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public.
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Cole Haan, the designer of footwear and accessories, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public.

In an SEC Form S-1, the Greenland, N.H., company didn't specify a number of shares or a price per share. It said it expected to go public on Nasdaq under the symbol CLHN.

Cole Haan is a portfolio company of the London private-equity firm Apax Partners. Apax and company management bought Cole Haan from Nike  (NKE) - Get NIKE, Inc. Class B Report in February 2013.

The company operates 368 stores in 64 countries; it also sells via hundreds of global wholesale accounts and direct to consumers through

Besides shoes, the company's name is on handbags, small leather goods, eyewear, outerwear and more.

Cole Haan says its focus customers "are active women and men ages 24 to 44 who live in global urban centers. We target this group because of its large and fast-growing generational spending power."

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A critical matter these days: Cole Haan is profitable.

For fiscal 2019 ended June 1, the company's net income climbed 43% to $33.1 million as revenue reached $686.6 million, up 14%.

And for the fiscal 2020 first half ended Nov. 30, 2019, net income fell 16% to $24.8 million. Revenue rose 15% to $403.1 million from $351.5 million.

Risk factors in the IPO include, among others, Cole Haan’s ability to execute marketing and merchandising strategies; the potential for a downturn in the economy and impact on consumer spending; its ability to react to changing consumer trends and introduce new products; and the sharp competition in the footwear and accessories markets and resulting pressure on profit margins and pricing.

The company also cites what it calls its "substantial indebtedness," which it says could impair its ability to raise capital to fund operations and react to changes in the economy and the industry.

As of Nov. 30, Cole Haan had $277.4 million of debt outstanding, all of it secured.

And the coronavirus outbreak could hurt its business. As of Feb. 14, one of Cole Haan’s distributors operated 18 stores in Greater China. It has temporarily closed certain locations and reduced operating hours at the rest. And the stores have seen significantly reduced consumer foot traffic.