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The RealReal Soars 40 Percent in Debut

The shares opened at $28, above their initial public offering price of $20.
The RealReal's 2016 New York pop-up | Source: Courtesy
By
  • Reuters

NEW YORK, United States — Shares of US online luxury reseller The RealReal Inc jumped 40 percent in their debut on Friday, giving it a market capitalisation of $2.32 billion and signalling investor appetite for listings of consumer companies.

The shares opened at $28, above their initial public offering price of $20.

The offering of 15 million shares was priced at $20, above the expected range of $17 and $19 per share, helping the company raise $300 million in net proceeds.

The personal luxury goods market is expected to grow to between $364 billion and $415 billion in 2025, with millennials expected to represent 40 percent of the market, according to research firm Bain.

The vast majority of The RealReal's business is in the United States and Chief Executive Julie Wainwright said the company would eventually expand abroad.

"We have a huge opportunity in front of us. Two-thirds of it’s outside the US so at some point we’ll go overseas but not in the near term," Wainwright said in a telephone interview.

The RealReal specialises in selling and buying second-hand luxury items including clothing and accessories. People can list their unwanted luxury goods, some that are either used or still have tags on them, and the company then takes a cut when a sale is made.

The RealReal, which started out as a business run from Wainwright's kitchen table, now processes nearly 2 million orders. It has expanded its physical presence by opening two brick-and-mortar stores in Manhattan and one in Los Angeles that collect as well as sell goods.

The company has been thriving on the rising sales of second-hand, or vintage, luxury goods — from Chanel handbags and Gucci dresses to Rolex watches — banking on growing millennial interest in the price and environmental benefits of recycled clothing.

Rival resellers are looking to cash in on the booming market, including thredUP, which branched into luxury last year, and established players like Vestiaire Collective.

The top-selling luxury designers on The RealReal's online marketplace include Cartier, Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Rolex, Tiffany and Valentino.

The company posted a net loss of $75.8 million in 2018, compared with a loss of $52.3 million in 2017, on revenue of $207.4 million, up over 55 percent, its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission showed.

Investors in the San Francisco-based company include Perella Weinberg Partners and Great Hill Partners.

By Aparajita Saxena, Aishwarya Venugopal and Joshua Franklin in New York; editor: Shailesh Kuber, Susan Thomas

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