Hudson’s Bay considers taking its Canadian retail stores public

September 05, 2012  |  Canadian Press  |  Comments

Hudson’s Bay Co. is planning another run at a public offering in a move that could prepare the company for the onslaught of competition from U.S. retailers next year.

A report in The Wall Street Journal said that executives of HBC, which owns The Bay department stores and Home Outfitters in Canada, have retained bankers to consider an initial public offering for the Canadian stores.

The report says an IPO for 30% of the company could be made as soon as this fall or early next year.

A spokeswoman for HBC declined to comment.

Hudson’s Bay was expected to make an IPO last fall with chief executive Richard Baker selling part of his share in the company, though the uncertainty of the market, and holiday retail sales, led the company to set those plans aside.

However, HBC is reconsidering its options as Target readies its Canadian launch early next year, while other U.S. retailers like Walmart are also expanding their presence.

Last year HBC sold the leasing rights on more than 200 Zellers locations to Minnesota-based Target, leading to speculation the company could be readying itself for another public offering.

In recent years the company has made efforts to revitalize its The Bay stores, hiring former Holt Renfrew executive Bonnie Brooks as chief executive officer, introducing high-end boutique spaces in its Toronto flagship store and securing the rights to produce uniforms and merchandise for Canada’s Olympic athletes.

Hudson’s Bay last traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2006 before it was taken private by American businessman Jerry Zucker, then passing to NRDC Equity Partners in 2008.

The company also owns retail chain Lord & Taylor in the United States.

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