J.Crew is exploring a potential IPO for its Madewell business, which offers women’s apparel, footwear and accessories. The IPO could take place as early as the second half of 2019. Additionally, the retailer named current President and COO Michael Nicholson as its interim CEO. Nicholson replaces an “Office of the CEO” made up of four executives, which was instituted when James Brett stepped down from the CEO position in November 2018.
“We believe a potential IPO of Madewell, which had another record year of performance in 2018, could unlock significant value and generate meaningful proceeds that would strengthen our balance sheet and increase our overall financial flexibility to address our 2021 debt maturities,” said Nicholson in a statement.
For Q4 2018, J.Crew’s overall comparable sales increased 6% compared to the same period the previous year, while Madewell comparable sales climbed 22%. For the full fiscal year, which ended Feb. 2, 2019, J.Crew comparable sales increased 2%, while Madewell comparable sales shot up by 25%.
In addition to Nicholson, two other Office of the CEO executives are staying with the company: Libby Wadle will continue as President and CEO of Madewell and Lynda Markoe will remain as the company’s Chief Administrative Officer. Adam Brotman, President and Chief Experience Officer, is resigning for personal reasons, effective April 19, 2019.
Nicholson joined J.Crew in 2016 as President, COO and CFO. He has extensive retail industry experience, most recently as EVP, COO, CFO and Treasurer of ANN Inc. and including leadership positions at Limited Brands and Victoria’s Secret.