Facing bankruptcy, Express Clothing will close 100 stores

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The chain is suffering from reduced foot traffic at shopping malls

Express Clothing has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and says it will close 100 U.S. stores. A lot of factors may be responsible.

First, the economy hasn’t been kind to retailers, especially those that sell clothing. But Express may also be collateral damage in the decline of the shopping mall, which is where most of its stores are based. Brooks Brothers suffered a similar fate.

Industry analysts say Express has been losing shoppers, which in turn dramatically affected annual revenue. Two to three years of remote work during the pandemic established a trend that is continuing. Today’s taste in clothing is more casual and less formal, especially among younger consumers.

In a statement, the company said the bankruptcy filing was done to “facilitate the sale process.” It says it has received a commitment for $35 million in new financing from certain of its existing lenders, subject to court approval. Earlier this month the company received $49 million in cash from the Internal Revenue Service related to the CARES Act.

Stores that will continue to operate

Express said it is continuing to operate its online store and across its Express, Bonobos and UpWest brands.

“We continue to make meaningful progress refining our product assortments, driving demand, connecting with customers and strengthening our operations,” said company CEO Stewart Glendinning. “We are taking an important step that will strengthen our financial position and enable Express to continue advancing our business initiatives.”

Express said it will close 95 Express stores, which is around 20% of them, and all 10 UpWest stores.

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