Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

c.2013 New York Times News Service

Fashion is still hot on Wall Street judging by Vince Holding’s initial public offering.

The fashion retailer priced its stock at $20 a share Thursday afternoon, a dollar above its expected range. At that price, investors valued the clothing store chain at $726 million.

The company will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday under the ticker symbol “VNCE.”

It’s the latest example of public investors’ demand for fashion, a trend stretching back to Michael Kors’ wildly successful market debut nearly two years ago. Since then, several fashion companies — including elite houses like Prada and Bruno Cucinelli — have flocked to the stock markets.

Last month, Marc Jacobs left his high-profile perch at Louis Vuitton to pursue an IPO for his own brand.

Now the 11-year-old Vince will join those ranks. Begun as a seller of women’s knits and cashmere sweaters, it has since added menswear and shoes. Its sales have grown at a steady clip in recent years, with the company reporting $114.7 million in revenue for the first six months of the year, up 27 percent from sales in the period a year earlier. Its profits for the same period doubled, to $2.4 million.

The IPO is a comeback of sorts for Vince’s owner, Sun Capital Partners. The private equity firm bought Kellwood, a collection of retail brands, for about $955 million five years ago. The deal has caused some heartburn for Sun Capital, which reportedly wrote the company down to zero at one point.

Even after the offering is completed, Sun Capital will retain at least a 68.1 percent stake in Vince.