Golden Gate Capital
Express is one of the 10 largest specialty retailers in the U.S. It is the preferred young, sexy, and sophisticated designer brand for work and casual wear among fashion-forward young women and men. Express operates more than 620 retail outlets in the United States and generates $1.8 billion in sales annually.
The first Express store was opened in 1980 (as Limited Express), in the Chicago Water Tower. Current CEO Michael Weiss joined the brand in 1981 when the test expanded to include eight stores. By 1986, Express had 250 stores strong and began testing the sale of menï¿½s merchandise in 16 stores the following year. The menï¿½s fashion line was spun off into its own brand, Structure, in 1989.
In 2001, Express became a dual gender brand once again with the reintegration of Structure as Express Men. Dual gender Express stores began opening the following year.
In 2006, Express introduced the King of Prides collection for men, which includes denim, t-shirts, and hooded sweaters.
In April 2008, Express released a limited women's collection designed by Celia Birtwell. More recently, in early 2009, replacing the discontinued DPD jeans which was introduced in 2005; Express introduced its newest denim line, Rerocks, in both women and in men. Just like the DPD jeans, Rerocks also have stitching on the back pockets and the materials are different.
Express clothes are designed at the Express Design Studio on 111 Fifth Avenue New York, New York in Manhattan's Flatiron District.
On May 15, 2007, Limited Brands announced its intent to sell a 67% stake in Express to an affiliate of a private equity firm called Golden Gate Capital Partners, based in San Francisco. When the sale was finalized in July 2007, Golden Gate's stake in the company was 75% instead of the announced 67%.
In 2010, it announced plans for a $200 million IPO. In April, the company set terms for its IPO, hoping to raise over $300 million giving it a market cap of $1.7 billion.
On Wednesday May 13, 2010 the company sold 16 million shares for $17 each, raising about $272 million. Shares had been planned to sell between $18 and $20 each. On Thursday May 14, 2010 the shares opened at $17 and dipped as low as $16.50 before recovering slightly to close down 1.5 percent at $16.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.