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The retailer said in its bankruptcy filing that it received a letter of intent from WHP Global with interest in purchasing its retail stores.

Express, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S., the apparel retailer announced April 22. It will also close 95 Express stores of the about 530 it operates, and all 12 UpWest locations, with closing sales beginning April 23. Express also operates the brand Bonobo.

The retailer also said that it received a nonbinding letter of intent from a consortium including WHP Global, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Properties with interest in purchasing a majority stake in its retail stores and operations.

Law firm Kirkland & Ellis is serving as legal counsel to Express, and M3 will continue as financial advisor. 

“We continue to make meaningful progress refining our product assortments, driving demand, connecting with customers and strengthening our operations,” CEO Stewart Glendinning said in a statement. “We are taking an important step that will strengthen our financial position and enable Express to continue advancing our business initiatives. WHP has been a strong partner to the Company since 2023, and the proposed transaction will provide us additional financial resources, better position the business for profitable growth and maximize value for our stakeholders.”

Retail stores and ecommerce websites continue to operate during normal hours and fulfill orders, Express said. The retailer will continue to assess its store footprint with the help of A&G Realty Partners, it said. 


Express is No. 116 in the Top 1000, Digital Commerce 360’s ranking of North America’s leading retailers by online sales. 

What led to Express filing for bankruptcy?

The retailer reported assets of between $1 billion and $10 billion, and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion in the filing. Express also received a commitment for $35 million in new financing from its lenders, it said. 

It previously reported $274.7 million in debt in the third fiscal quarter of 2023, the most recent quarter for which it has shared financial information. That was an increase from $235.4 million in the year-ago period. $65 million of the debt is from a loan the retailer took out in 2023 at 15% interest as a “short-term measure to strengthen our liquidity position,” former chief financial officer Jason Judd said in a Q2 earnings call.

During that quarter, Express also recorded an operating loss of $28.7 million and a net loss of $36.8 million. Express introduced an expense reduction initiative in 2022, with a goal of saving $200 million by 2025. It saved $30 million during that third quarter and was on track to achieve $80 million in cost savings for 2023. 


The retailer undertook extensive discounting to sell apparel in the quarter, it said. That had a negative impact on margins, it said.

In February 2024, Express shared plans to restructure its debt in the hopes of avoiding bankruptcy. 

Express and WHP

WHP previously invested in Express in 2022, when it spent about $25 million for a 7.4% stake in the retailer. In 2023, it acquired a 60% interest in Express.

WHP has a history of acquiring struggling retailers. In 2021, the firm acquired a controlling interest in the parent company of Toys R Us and Babies R Us. In February 2024, WHP partnered with Guess Inc. to acquire apparel retailer Rag & Bone.


Guess is No. 173 in the Top 1000, and Rag & Bone ranks No. 638.

Express leadership changes

The retailer also announced that Mark Still will take over as senior vice president and chief financial officer. He became interim CFO in November 2023 after former CFO Jason Judd left Express, one year after joining the company.

The retailer appointed a new CEO in September 2023. Stewart Glendinning previously worked as group president of prepared foods and chief financial officer at Tyson Foods.

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