Yoox, the Italian online retailer for shoes and other fashion and designer products based in Bologna, is aiming for a stock market listing at the end of 2009 or early 2010. The operation is expected to raise funds to finance the company’s development while letting some venture capitalists cash out..

Yoox was created in 2000 by Federico Marchetti, who has a 10 percent stake in the company. Three investment funds – Kiwi, Net Partners and Benchmark Europe – are also shareholders along with other individual investors.

Mediobanca and Goldman Sachs are expected to arrange the initial public offering. These companies are believed to have valued Yoox at more than €200 million.

Yoox closed 2008 with a 48 percent increase in net sales to €101 million and continues to enjoy strong growth in the first quarter of this year. Yoox delivered about 1.7 million items to clients in 53 countries in 2008. Europe, excluding Italy, represented 49 percent of sales, Italy 29 percent, the U.S. 16 percent, Japan 5 percent and other countries 1 percent. Europe enjoyed the strongest growth rate with a 56.2 percent increase in sales.

The group has a headcount of 220, after hiring 50 people in 2008, and forecasts reaching nearly 300 employees at the end of this year. Yoox has offices in Milan, New York, Madrid, Paris and Tokyo, and plans openings in London and in Germany.

Yoox has two multi-brand online retailing services: Yoox.com, launched in 2000, and thecorner.com, launched in 2008.

Since 2006, Yoox has designed and managed single-brand online stores for fashion brands. The number of virtual mono-brand stores currently totals 12. The last two to go live in February were Bally.com and Moschino.com, both covering the EU and the U.S.

The group expects to open another six virtual mono-brand stores this year.

From April 15, Yoox.com will also have a dedicated area for eco-friendly products and enable designers to offer limited-edition items.