Exclusive: Pool supplies retailer Leslie's eyes IPO as demand surges during pandemic, say sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Private equity firm L Catterton is preparing an initial public offering (IPO) of Leslie’s Poolmart Inc that could value the retailer of swimming pool supplies at more than $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The potential IPO comes amid a surge in demand for backyard pools in the United States as consumers living under lockdown measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus look for more at-home leisure activities.

Rival Pool Corp POOL.O last month reported record net sales in the second quarter and has seen its share price surge around 60% so far this year, far outpacing the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 stock index .SPX.

L Catterton has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to lead preparations for the IPO, the sources said, requesting anonymity as the matter is private.

The timing and ultimate valuation of the IPO are dependant on market conditions.

L Catterton and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Executives for Leslie’s did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

L Catterton led a buyout group for Phoenix, Arizona-based Leslie’s in 2017. Leslie’s has over 900 store locations, and its products include above-ground pools, saunas and pool chemicals.

Across the United States and Europe, manufacturers and distributors of swimming pools and hot tubs are scrambling to meet a wave of demand as consumers cocoon at home to escape the coronavirus pandemic.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum