Chicago-based Potbelly Corp., operator of nearly 300 Potbelly Sandwich Shop restaurants, filed a preliminary prospectus Thursday for a $75 million initial public offering of stock.

The filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission did not yet include the number of shares to be offered, or the expected per-share offering price. A proposed date for the IPO also was not yet included.

Potbelly did disclose that it intends to trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “PBPB.” It said the IPO proceeds would be used to pay a previously-declared cash dividend totaling about $49.9 million. The remaining proceeds will be used for working capital and general corporate purposes.

The pending stock offering is being handled by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs & Co., Robert W. Baird, William Blair and Piper Jaffray.

Founded in Chicago in 1977, Potbelly serves toasted sandwiches, shakes and baked goods. The original owners sold the first Lincoln Avenue restaurant to Bryant Keil in 1996. Keil opened the second shop in 1997 and grew the brand to 100 shops by 2005 and to 200 locations by 2008. The chain — now run by chief executive Aylwin Lewis, former president of Sears Holdings — is on pace to open its 300th location this year.

Total revenue increased 15.5 percent to $274.9 million in fiscal 2012, compared with fiscal 2011, Potbelly’s filing said. In 12 of the past 13 quarters through the fiscal period ended June 30, Potbelly same-store sales were positive, according to the S-1.

As of June 30, the Potbelly system totaled 286 domestic restaurants in 18 states and the District of Columbia, six of which are franchised. Potbelly also has 12 franchised locations in the Middle East.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
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