Online fashion retailer Boohoo.com has appointed two new directors ahead of its 500m pound London initial public offering (IPO) on March 14th, one of several flotation in the retail sector in early 2014.
Based in Manchester's Northern Quarter the business sells own-branded women's and men's fashions, and is rumoured to be looking to raise £100m at 50p per share to help accelerate expansion, with broker Zeus Capital running the book.
The business grew profits twelvefold to £3.2m and more than doubled sales in the UK and internationally to more than 100 countries to £67.2m in the year to February 2013.
Like Asos, Boohoo says its clothes are inspired by celebrities and catwalk fashion. Boohoo is not, however, linked to fashion retailer Boo.com, notorious for its profligacy and dramatic collapse during the height of the dotcom boom.
Boohoo.com targets the under-25s with own-brand fashion-led products that are generally in a cheaper price bracket than Asos, which aims at those aged between 18 and 35 and has a much wider range that also includes branded fashion.
A browse across the website sees jeans and shirts costing between £8 and £18 under 'what to wear this week' for men, and dresses in the women's 'new in' section costing £12 on average.
A December trading statement pointed to active customers more than doubling during 2013 to more than 2m and the company said it has been investing in infrastructure and systems to keep up with the surging demand for its products.
Boohoo's workforce has grown by 75% in the last two years to more than 600.
In preparation for its new corporate life, the company earlier hired former ASOS director Peter Williams as non-executive chairman, and has now added two further non-executive directors in Zoopla property Finance Director David Forbes and investment banking sector accountant Stephen Morana.
Analyst Christopher Beauchamp of IG pointed out that while Asos has performed incredibly in recent years, there have been doubters at every turn, saying that a shift in fashion could cause Asos to go from customer darling to completely unloved overnight.
"So far, Asos has confounded its doubters but the comment stands. The same thing applies to Boohoo.com - it could easily find itself isolated if consumer tastes change," he added.
"The company's valuation is around a tenth of that of Asos too - the possibility of a predatory bid cannot be ruled out. The family that built it are getting out, and the timing looks quite good."
Co-Chief Executive Mahmud Abdullag Kamani's family own 82% of the shares
prior to listing, with fellow founder and CEO Carol Kane holding 9.8%.
The Independent reported that it had heard from certain sources that Zeus Capital's private equity arm was also an investor in Boohoo, but this could not be verified with either party.
There have been a number of other retail floats in recent weeks, with mixed results. Online white goods retailer AO World has seen its shares rise 25.3%. Shares in convenience store chain McColl's Retail fell 4.7% since it began trading last week. What's more, Pets at Home and discount retailer Poundland have both confirmed their intention to list soon.