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Boot Barn IPO Paves Way for Next Step of Growth Plan

Boot Barn Holdings Inc. plans to use the money it raised in last week’s initial public offering to pay down debt and continue a push to bring its Western gear to shoppers coast-to-coast.

The Irvine-based chain ended its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 30 at $17.45 a share, an increase of 9% over the offering’s initial $16 price. The sale of 5 million shares raised about $87.25 million, which represents about 16% of the company, putting its market value at about $520 million.

“It is unbelievably exciting,” said the company’s chief executive, Jim Conroy, who handed out cow bells to the staff on the trading floor to help ring in the IPO. “It’s just an incredible step for a terrific company. Our original plan was to raise $75 million. We priced at the high end of the range, and it traded up, so if we achieved $75 million, we’d be happy.”

Boot Barn, which has 162 stores in 24 states, plans to use the proceeds to pay down a chunk of $130 million in debt stemming from two acquisitions— Rapid City, S.D.-based RCC Western Stores Inc. in 2012, and Baskins Western & Work Wear in Trinity, Texas, in 2013.

“Our leverage ratio is actually pretty low,” Conroy said.

RCC increased Boot Barn’s store base at the time by 33% and expanded its retail lineup into the Midwest and Southeast. The Baskins deal added to its roster 30 stores in Texas and Louisiana.

Freeman Spogli

Boot Barn has been part of the portfolio of Los Angeles-based Freeman Spogli & Co. since 2011. The private equity firm also owns a stake in Costa Mesa-based fast-food company El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc., which announced its IPO in July and whose shares have since more than doubled in value.

The investment firm held 89.1% of Boot Barn shares prior to the IPO and now owns about 70%.

“Freeman is a terrific partner to Boot Barn, and I’m unbelievably appreciative of the support they give to me and the company,” Conroy said, referring to the retailer’s recent strong financial performance.

Boot Barn’s net sales in fiscal 2014, which ended March 29, totaled $345.9 million, according to the company’s September filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That was up 48.3% from $233.2 million in revenue in fiscal 2013. Its same-store sales were up 6.7% year-over-year.

The retailer said it expects its net sales for the 13 weeks that ended Sept. 27 to be between $85.9 million and $86.4 million, up from the $77.4 million it took in during the same period last year. It expects its same-store sales growth to range between 7.2% and 7.3% for the same quarter this year.

As a public company, the 36-year-old Boot Barn will focus mostly on organic growth rather than acquisitions.

“Our plan is to continue to open new stores,” Conroy said. “I think we have the ability to nearly triple the number of stores that we have in the U.S. Our strategy calls for us to open about 10% more stores every year. That’s approximately 20 stores a year as we go forward, so it will take some time before we have built out the entire country.

“We have looked at acquisitions in the past opportunistically, so if one were to come up, we would have a discussion with them, but our plan is really to take a very strong working model and replicate it across the country.”

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