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Express Bought by WHP-Led Group

While focus will be on DTC, brand’s remaining stores will continue operating




Photography: Antoinne Bootz, New York

A new joint venture led by WHP Global (New York) has received court approval to acquire the operations of struggling fashion retailer Express Retail Co. (Columbus, Ohio). The new entity, known as Phoenix, will operate DTC commerce in the U.S for Express and the Bonobos brand that is co-owned by Express and WHP.

This transaction is the next step in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization that Express initiated in April. As reported previously, that process included closing 95 of the brand’s 530 Express and Express Factory Outlets and all 12 of its UpWest stores. (The retailer’s operations also include 60 Bonobos Guideshop locations.)

“The formation of Phoenix marks a vital step in our mission to save Express Inc. and continue serving millions of customers who love the Express and Bonobos brands,” said Yehuda Shmidman, Chairman & CEO of WHP Global. “With the restructuring actions accomplished during the Chapter 11 process, we believe Express is now well-positioned for a powerful path forward, benefiting all stakeholders, including our valued vendor partners, licensees, landlords and dedicated team.”

The consortium led by WHP on the deal also includes the operators of malls whose tenants include Express: Simon Property Group, Brookfield Properties and Centennial Real Estate.

Phoenix will focus on strengthening the core operations of Express and Bonobos, “ensuring the continuity of more than 450 physical stores, e-commerce operations and the preservation of nearly 7000 jobs across the country,” the parties said in a news release.

The price of the deal was not disclosed in the statement by the participants, but published reports placed it at $174 million.




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