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Express files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, announces store closings and possible sale

NEW YORK — Express Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, as the fashion retailer seeks to sell the majority of its stores.

Columbus, Ohio-based Express, which is also the parent company of the Bonbons and Upwest brands, is shuttering a handful of its operations. In an announcement regarding its bankruptcy filing Monday, the company said it plans to close 95 of its Express retail stores and all UpWest stores.

Final sales at those sites, which were not immediately specified, are expected to begin Tuesday. Beyond these closures, Express said it “expects to continue business as usual.”

Also Monday, Express announced it had received a non-binding letter of intent from a group led by WHP Global to potentially purchase the majority of its stores and operations. Express said it filed for Chapter 11 protection “to facilitate the sales process.”

The consortium exploring the deal also includes shopping center operators Simon Property Group and Brookfield Properties, Express said. The Associated Press contacted WHP, Simon Property and Brookfield for comment Monday.

In a prepared statement, Express CEO Stewart Glendinning said WHP “has been a strong partner” with the company since 2023 – adding that the proposed transaction would give Express additional financial resources and “better position the company to profitable growth” while maximizing stakeholder value.

According to Express’s website, the company currently operates approximately 530 Express Retail and Express Factory Outlet stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, in addition to approximately 60 Bonobos Guideshop locations, 12 UpWest stores as well as online operations for these brands.

Express reported nearly $1.2 billion in total debts and $1.3 billion in total assets in its Chapter 11 petition, which was filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

The company said Monday that it had received a commitment of $35 million in new financing, subject to court approval, from some existing lenders. That would be in addition to the $49 million in cash Express obtained earlier this month from the Internal Revenue Service related to the pandemic-era CARES Act.

Express also announced a leadership update on Monday. Mark Still will become CFO, effective immediately, after serving as interim CFO since November 2023, the company announced.

ABC News

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