Clothing retailer Bonmarché, which targets women aged over 50, intends to float on AIM.
Bonmarché, which has 264 shops, is controlled by private equity group Sun European whose ownership has resulted in a “transformed business with a step change in profitability”.
The retailer is expected to list on AIM next month and to be valued at about £100m.
Sun acquired Bonmarché in 2012 and under chief executive Beth Butterwick improvements have been made both to ensure efficiency - such as appropriate rent and occupancy terms for stores - and to better serve the growing customer demographic of older women.
In the year to March 30, Bonmarché recorded EBITDA before exceptionals of £9.1m on sales of £146.8m. In the first half of the current year to September 28 like-for-likes rose 12.7%.
Butterwick said: “Bonmarché is the largest pure-play retailer dedicated to the over-50s female customer, providing quality clothing at an affordable price. We are confident that our competitive position and loyal customer base means that we are well placed to capitalise on this attractive and fast growing niche of the retail sector.
“We have identified a number of opportunities to expand our retail offering through enhancing our product range, developing our store portfolio and optimising our multichannel offering, providing a positive customer shopping experience and business growth.”
Bonmarché’s board includes retail industry veterans including Tim Mason, the former Tesco marketing director, who is chairman and former House of Fraser chief executive John Coleman is a non-executive director.
Investec is acting as Bonmarché’s adviser and broker. The AIM listing is expected to result in a free float of at least 40% of shares in Bonmarché.