Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant Owner Ascena Retail Files for Bankruptcy

The proprietor of Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant, which just some years in the past was one of many nation’s largest clothes retailers for ladies and ladies, filed for chapter on Thursday, after declining gross sales and excessive debt had been exacerbated by retailer closures mandated by coronavirus lockdowns.

The firm, Ascena Retail Group, will shut 1,600 of its roughly 2,800 shops and hopes to shed $1 billion of its $1.1 billion in debt, the corporate mentioned in a Chapter 11 submitting in U.S. Bankruptcy Court within the Eastern District of Virginia. The closings will embrace “a select number” of Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, Loft and Lou & Grey shops, in addition to all of its Catherines places. Ascena had 53,000 staff final 12 months, amongst them 40,000 part-time employees, in accordance with latest authorities filings.

“The meaningful progress we have made driving sustainable growth, improving our operating margins and strengthening our financial foundation has been severely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Carrie Teffner, the interim govt chair of Ascena, mentioned in a press release. “As a result, we took a strategic step forward today to protect the future of the business for all of our stakeholders.”

The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on retailers, particularly attire sellers and different mall-based chains which may have in any other case stayed afloat, even perhaps for a brief interval, with out turning to chapter court docket. Ascena, based mostly in Mahwah, N.J., is no less than the ninth distinguished retailer to file for chapter since early May, proper on the heels of Brooks Brothers and Sur La Table this month, and within the wake of J. Crew, Neiman Marcus Group, J.C. Penney, Lucky Brand, Stage Stores and GNC.

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