Express Files for Bankruptcy, Plans to Close Nearly 100 Stores

Express Files for Bankruptcy, Plans to Close Nearly 100 Stores

In a significant retail shake-up, the well-known office-casual clothing brand Express, established in 1980, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This move comes as the brand struggles to adapt to changing market demands. Despite this setback, a consortium led by brand management firm WHP Global is attempting to acquire and rejuvenate the troubled retailer.

On Monday, Express sought bankruptcy protection, announcing the closure of 95 of its namesake stores as well as all its UpWest locations. Liquidation sales are set to begin Tuesday. The company, which also owns the Bonobos brand, clarified that the operating hours of its remaining stores would not be affected and that it would continue to accept orders and process returns as usual.

In a press release, Express explained that the bankruptcy filing is intended to facilitate a process by which the investor group, including WHP Global, Simon Property Group, and Brookfield Properties, can acquire most of its retail outlets and operations. The investor group has already extended a non-binding letter of intent to purchase the company’s assets. Additionally, Express has secured $35 million in new financing from some of its lenders, pending court approval.

The proposed transaction is expected to provide Express with additional financial resources, enhancing the company’s position for profit growth and maximizing shareholder value. Furthermore, Express has also secured $49 million in cash from the IRS in relation to the CARES Act, a critical source of liquidity that the company had been awaiting to strengthen its balance sheet.

Express’s CEO Stewart Glendinning commented on the developments, saying, “We are making significant strides in refining our product catalog, driving demand, connecting with customers, and strengthening our operations. This crucial step will bolster our financial position and enable Express to continue progressing with our business initiatives.”