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Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

Bankrupt Express Inc. has a nonbinding offer from a consortium led by WHP Global that includes Simon Property Group and Brookfield Properties.

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

A look at the Express store at the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, N.J.

Express Inc. is now under bankruptcy court oversight.

The struggling specialty apparel chain filed its Chapter 11 petition for bankruptcy court protection on Monday in Delaware. Eleven affiliated firms also filed their respective Chapter 11 petitions. The filing was expected since earlier this year. Credit monitoring firm Creditsafe said at the time that late payments have been a consistent problem at Express, an indication of ongoing liquidity problems.

The retailer said it has received a nonbinding letter of intent from a consortium led by brand management firm WHP Global. Other members of the consortium include mall landlords Simon Property Group and Brookfield Properties. The offer is for the sale of a majority of the chain’s retail stores and operations. But given that it is a nonbinding offer, others could come in and kick the tires.

Sources said Sycamore has already been snooping around and pondering a possible offer. Sycamore had its eye on Express in June 2014, when word surfaced that it was interested in acquiring the retailer. At the time, Sycamore held a 9.9 percent interest in Express. The two were working on deal terms when the transaction collapsed in January 2025 due to certain financing issues.

However, WHP could be seen as having the upper hand since it holds a 7.4 percent investment stake in the company since January 2023. As part of that investment, WHP holds a 60 percent interest in a joint venture licensing agreement valued at $400 million, to which the brand management firm contributed $235 million.

The WHP-Express venture acquired menswear brand Bonobos in April 2023 for $75 million from Walmart Inc. In addition to its core Express stores and Bonobos, the retailer also operates the UpWest chain.

Express said on Monday that it has received a commitment of $35 million in new financing from certain of its lenders to fund its bankruptcy, subject to court approval. On April 15, the company also received a tax refund of $49 million in cash from the Internal Revenue Service in connection to the CARES Act.

“We are taking an important step that will strengthen our financial position and enable Express to continue advancing our business initiatives,” Express chief executive officer Stewart Glendinning said. “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.”

He said the company is making “meaningful progress” on refining its product assortments and driving demand, as well as connecting with customers. The top priority remains “providing our customers with the contemporary styles and value they expect from us,” Glendinning said.

The company operates just over 525 locations under the Express, Express Edit and Express Factory Outlet banners, as well as Bonobos Guideshops, across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It also operates 12 UpWest stores. The current plan in bankruptcy includes the closure of 95 Express doors and all 12 UpWest locations. Store closing sales begin on Tuesday. A&G Realty Partners is working with Express in the evaluation of its store footprint.

The chain’s remaining stores will continue to operate per their normal store hours. The company’s branded online channels also remain in operation, along with brand apps. Other store policies, such as merchandise return procedures, use of gift cards and store credits also remain unchanged. And its loyalty program Express Insider is not expected to see any changes. Express also said that its Bonobos brand continues to “serve its premium wholesale customers.”

Separately, Express said on Monday that Mark Still was named senior vice president and chief financial officer. He has served as interim CFO since November 2023 and was senior vice president, brand finance and planning and allocation since January 2023. Still joined the company in 2005 and has held finance roles with increasing responsibility over the years.

In the main Chapter 11 petition, Express listed total assets of nearly $1.3 billion and liabilities of about $1.2 billion. Li & Fung was listed as the chain’s largest trade creditor, holding an unsecured claim of $38.6 million. Other trade claims include manufacturers and sourcing firms overseas in Istanbul, Turkey; Kowloon, Hong Kong and Taipei, Taiwan, and in the U.S.