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Gilt Focused on Raising Margins Ahead of IPO: CEO

Thursday, 1 Mar 2012 | 4:50 PM ET

Online retailer Gilt Groupe is working on becoming more profitable ahead of going public, which will likely be next year, CEO Susan Lyne told CNBC Thursday.

Apple iPad
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Apple iPad

Gilt, formed in 2007, launches about 40 sales daily at noon offering designer labels at up to 65 percent off retail for a limited time. Gilt's focus is "to get our margins up and make sure we’re not just perceived as a high-growth company but as a profitable company, too," the CEO said.

Gilt "will continue to invest in new businesses but parts of the business that's been around for three or four years now have to think about profitability," she added. "We’ll go [public] when the time is right, and in all likelihood that’ll be next year."

When the company started there was no iPad or Twitter, she said. Now "mobile has had a huge impact on ecommerce. On any given day right now 20 percent to 30 percent of our revenue is coming from iPhones and iPads. The fact that you have your phone with you all the time, that’s a store that’s in your pocket."

Gilt Groupe Exec on Online Shopping Rush
Americans spent more than $200 billion online last year and are expected to shell out $327 billion on Internet stores by 2016. Susan Lyne, Gilt Groupe chairman, weighs in.

She said she was glad retail "had a good month" and some brick-and-mortar stores reported sales increases in February.

"That's good news for all of us because it means the economy is coming back," Lyne said. However, "ecommerce is growing so much faster than retail it is making it harder for retail stores to compete unless then have a strong ecommerce business."

What's next? Increasing international sales, she said. "We've just recently allowed people to start purchasing with credit cards all over the world. There’s a big market out there."

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com.

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