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Friday November 24th, 2017 4:54PM

Stitch Fix, an online styling service, files to go public

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Stitch Fix, an online clothing styling service, has filed to go public.

The company is one of several that ships shoppers clothing to try on at home before they buy. With Stitch Fix, customers pay $20 to receive five clothing items. Customers can ship back whatever they don't like or they'll be charged for anything they keep, minus the $20 fee.

It has a lot of competition, though: Department store operator Nordstrom bought rival Trunk Club three years ago. And Amazon.com Inc. plans to launch a similar service called Prime Wardrobe. And the track record for subscription services isn't at all clear. Shares in meal kit-delivery company Blue Apron have lost nearly half their value since they began trading on the stock market at the end of June.

Stitch Fix said in its filing Thursday that it had nearly 2.2 million active customers in July, up 31 percent from the year before. However, it reported a loss of $594,000 in the year that ended July 29, as its expenses rose. The year before, it reported a profit of $33.2 million. Its revenue rose 34 percent to $977.1 million in the same period.

Founded six years ago by Katrina Lake, who is the company's CEO, Stitch Fix focused first on clothing for women. But it has added men's clothing and added options like plus sizes and maternity clothes. The company said it uses human stylists and data it collects from shoppers to pick out dresses, jeans or shirts the company thinks customers would buy.

Stitch Fix Inc. said it plans to raise as much as $100 million in its initial public offering, but that number is likely to change. It didn't say how much it expects to sell shares for or when the IPO would happen. The San Francisco-based company said its shares would trade on the Nasdaq stock market under the stock symbol "SFIX."

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