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Express Files for Bankruptcy

US apparel retailer Express Inc., whose portfolio includes menswear brand Bonobos and lifestyle brand UpWest, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday. Express also announced it plans to shutter more than 100 of its roughly 530 stores nationwide. Closing sales are expected to begin today.

An investor group led by management firm WHP Global, which owns Toys R Us, is potentially looking to purchase a majority of Express stores and operations, having sent a nonbinding letter of intent (see 101) to buy its assets. Express has also received $35M in financing from existing lenders, subject to court approval, as well as $49M from the IRS as part of a pandemic-era assistance program. A new chief financial officer has been named. 

Express, founded in 1980, has been seeing declining sales in recent quarters. The retailer's bankruptcy comes a month after it was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange for failing to maintain an average global market capitalization above $15M over 30 trading days.

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