Fashion Retailer Express Inc is seeking bankruptcy protection amid store closures

Fashion retailer Express Inc. announced Monday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States and plans to close more than 100 stores as part of its restructuring plan.

The company, known for brands including Express, Bonobos and UpWest, listed assets and liabilities in a range of $1 billion to $10 billion, according to documents filed in Delaware bankruptcy court.

New leadership and financial resuscitation

Reuters reported that Express Inc. has appointed Mark Still as the new Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately, in addition to the bankruptcy filing. Yet he, who has served as interim CFO since November 2023, steps into his new role at a crucial time for the company. In addition, Express has secured $35 million in new financing from its current lenders to stabilize its operations.

Strategic store closures

MSN noted that starting Tuesday, the bankruptcy process will involve the closure of approximately 95 Express stores and all of its UpWest stores. The exact locations of the stores that will be closed have not been disclosed. Express operates approximately 530 stores and outlet stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, along with approximately 12 UpWest locations.

Facing challenges in the sector

Founded in 1980, Express Inc. has experienced declining consumer demand due to slower spending and increased price sensitivity within discretionary spending categories. This trend has been exacerbated by broader industry challenges, including retail bankruptcies that are shaking up the sector.

Future sales on the horizon

In a possible lifeline, Express Inc. revealed. that it had received a non-binding letter of intent to sell a substantial portion of its stores and operations from a consortium led by WHP Global. The brand management company, which counts Toys “R” Us and Anne Klein among its portfolio, acquired a 7.4% stake in Express last year, underscoring its interest in the fashion retailer’s future.

Express is committed to continuing its operations seamlessly, utilizing a court-supervised process to facilitate sales and pursue a rejuvenated presence in the retail landscape amid these significant transition challenges.

Photo: BusinessWire