Apparel retailer Express has announced its initial public offering of 16m shares worth US$166.9m.

The offering - together with US$15.3m cash - will be used to prepay all outstanding indebtedness under the credit facility of its wholly-owned subsidiary Express Topco.

Any remaining net proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes said the company.

BofA Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs & Co. are acting as joint book-running managers for the proposed offering.

A registration statement relating to shares of the common stock of Express has been declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Express currently has 573 stores in the US and is aiming to open some 150 new stores during the next five years in anticipation of a retail recovery.