Nationwide Retailer Files For Bankruptcy, Will Close More Than 100 Stores

Fashion retailer Express Inc, known for its portfolio of brands including Express, Bonobos, and UpWest Express, announced on Monday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, according to a report from Reuters.

As part of the restructuring process, the company plans to shutter more than 100 stores across the country.

According to the bankruptcy filing in Delaware, Express Inc’s assets and liabilities fall within the range of $1 billion to $10 billion.

The retailer also appointed Mark Still as its new Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. Still had been serving as interim CFO since November 2023.

The company stated that it will begin closing approximately 95 Express retail stores and all of its UpWest stores starting Tuesday.

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However, the specific locations of the stores slated for closure were not disclosed.

Express Inc currently operates around 530 Express retail and Express Factory Outlet stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, along with about 12 UpWest retail stores.

To help navigate the bankruptcy process, the company has secured a commitment for $35 million in new financing from a group of its existing lenders.

Founded in 1980, Express has been struggling to cope with declining consumer demand, which can be attributed to a slowdown in spending patterns and heightened price sensitivity in discretionary categories.

Despite the filing, Express Inc emphasized that it expects to continue conducting business as usual while initiating a court-supervised process to facilitate a formal sale.

The company also revealed that it had received a non-binding letter of intent from a consortium led by WHP Global, a brand management firm that owns Toys “R” Us and fashion labels like Anne Klein, expressing interest in acquiring a substantial majority of its retail stores and operations.

WHP Global had previously taken a 7.4% stake in Express last year.

The bankruptcy filing and subsequent store closures illustrate the challenges faced by traditional brick-and-mortar retailers in an increasingly competitive and evolving retail landscape.

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As Express Inc navigates this difficult period, it remains to be seen how the company will adapt and restructure to meet the changing needs and preferences of consumers in the future.