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Gilt Groupe's IPO Could Be a Sign for E-Commerce Companies

The luxury goods business reportedly will go public later this year, one of the first online retailers to do so in recent memory.

In a sign that IPO activity in the e-commerce space could be coming back after a long slow period, the online luxury goods retailer Gilt Groupe will be going public sometime this year, a company insider told Re/code.

The source told Re/code that the New York City-based company's initial public offering will take place during the third quarter of 2014.

Bloomberg reported that Goldman Sachs is managing the company's IPO. The financial services firm invested $138 million in Gilt in 2011, contributing to the $200 million in funding Gilt has received since its 2007 launch.

Few e-commerce companies have gone public in recent years, in part because of the growing dominance of Amazon in the space, according to Bloomberg. Zulily, a shopping site for mothers, was seen as an exception when it went public last year. 

Gilt Groupe "is in a good place, and the market is a good place," the anonymous source told Re/code. "That doesn't happen very often."

Gilt, which hosts flash sales of luxury designer clothing, generated more than $550 million in sales in 2012, up from $450 million the previous year. Revenue figures for 2013 were not available, but Re/code reports that the company was not profitable for the year.

After expanding its following, Gilt launched a full-priced men's business line, a food section, and a separate travel site. Those ventures failed, and Gilt cut 10 percent of its staff in early 2012 and focused on its flagship business of discounted designer goods, Re/code reports.


Last updated: Feb 11, 2014

WILL YAKOWICZ | Staff Writer | Reporter,

Will Yakowicz is a staff writer for Inc. magazine. He has covered business, crime, and local politics for The Brooklyn Paper and was the editor of Park Slope Patch. He has also reported on the West Bank and Moscow for Tablet Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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