TPG takes J. Crew public

The clothing retailer’s IPO jumped by as much as 27 percent in its market debut Wednesday, making $376 million on the IPO.

Clothing retailer J. Crew debuted on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, raising $376 million in the IPO, well above the $320 million the company expected to receive.

On its first day as a public company, shares in J.Crew surged by as much as 27%. The company, now 40% owned by Texas Pacific Group, sold 18.8 million shares at $20 each. J.Crew shares opened Thursday at $25.05.

J. Crew, which is majority owned by Fort Worth-based Texas Pacific Group, has had a rebound year. TPG bought the company in 1997 for $500 million. Since then the company saw its fortunes decline, plagued by an identity crisis in which it tried to rebrand itself in various ways. After former Gap CEO Millard Drexler took over in 2003, the company returned to its roots of “preppy” clothing.

In early June the company reported a 60 percent increase in first-quarter profit and sales showed double-digit gains. J. Crew posted a net income of $3.8 million in fiscal 2005, compared to a loss of $100.3 million a year earlier.

The company currently operates 164 retail stores, 45 factory stores, a catalog and web site. It plans to add between 15 and 30 stores this year and is also developing a new chain of casual women’s clothing stores called Madewell.

The company planned to go public last year but postponed the offering until now without offering an explanation.

TPG’s other holdings in the retail sector include UK-based department store Debenhams and The Neiman Marcus Group.