Watches of Switzerland Goes Public, The RealReal Plans IPO

MajorsJun 07, 2019

Watches of Switzerland Goes Public, The RealReal Plans IPO

Here’s what you need to know about the newest publicly-traded luxury retailers.

Luxury reseller The RealReal opened an in-person consignment office in New York City’s Upper East Side neighborhood in May, its third in the city.

New York—Publicly-traded watch and jewelry companies are few and far between, a drop in the bucket compared with tech and biotech stocks, but recently notable names have thrown their hats into the stock market ring.

Watches of Switzerland announced in May that it was considering an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange.

The watch company debuted on the exchange later that month and has a market cap of £706.4 million ($898.2 million) as of press time.

The company went public in an effort to slash its mounting debt and raise capital to grow its presence in the United States.

The brand is well-established in the United Kingdom with 125 stores but has gradually been increasing its footprint in the U.S. since 2017, opening a handful of retail locations.

Its flagship is located in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, and its latest store is in Hudson Yards, a recently opened upscale development in Manhattan that has been called “a billionaire’s fantasy city.”

But Tiffany & Co. is one of the only luxury retailers listed on the S&P 500, so there may be room for more high-end retailers on Wall Street.

Luxury e-tailer and reseller The RealReal Inc. announced its IPO aspirations in January and declared its upcoming trading debut on the Nasdaq last week.

The online consignment site, which was founded in 2011, specializes in secondhand luxury apparel and accessories, offering brands like Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.

In the jewelry category, the editors’ picks of the month include an iconic Cartier Love bracelet in 18-karat yellow gold for $4,550 (estimated retail price of $6,300) and an 18-karat rose gold Chopard sport watch for $15,295 (estimated retail price of $29,900).

A team of more than 100 brand authenticators, including gemologists and horologists, verify markers of authenticity, like serial tags and hologram stickers.

The company is not yet profitable, reporting a net loss of $75.8 million in 2018. Revenue is on the rise, however, climbing 55 percent year-over-year to $207.4 million.

The site processed 1.6 million orders in 2018, a 42 percent increase compared with the previous year, with an average order value of $446.

The RealReal has been building out its brick-and-mortar presence, opening its third New York City location on the Upper East Side.

It has 10 in-person consignment offices in total, located in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Dallas and Washington, D.C.

The date of its Nasdaq debut has not been announced.

Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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