Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant owner files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant owner files Chapter 11 bankruptcy”

The company said it will close a "select number" of Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant and Lou & Grey stores, including all stores across brands in Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Ascena Retail Group, the owner of Ann Taylor, has officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

According to their websites, there are now four Ann Taylor, nine Loft and 37 Justice stores in Canada, many of them in Ontario. Its largest debts are related to rent: Ascena owes $31.7 million to mall operator Simon Property Group, $16.6 million to Brookfield Properties, $8.8 million to Boston Properties and $7.2 million to Tanger Properties.

This spring, Ascena furloughed 90% of its workers when it temporarily closed its stores while also canceling merchandising orders where possible to preserve cash. It received $150 million in new financing to continue operating during its reorganization.

Last year, Ascena wound down its Dressbarn chain, closing some 650 stores, and sold its value brand Maurices.

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Before the pandemic, Ascena's stores accounted for about 60% of total revenue. Overall sales fell 45% in the three months that ended May 2.

But the company's financial troubles preceded the pandemic.

Ascena's troubles began in 2009, when malls were still in their heyday. In a May update, the company said it was seeing significantly reduced foot traffic in stores that had reopened after local restrictions were lifted. It expects to reduce its debt by about $1 billion in its pre-arranged restructuring. Ascena Retail Group, which owns Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant, has filed for bankruptcy.

The Justice stores in Upstate New York set to close include locations at Destiny USA in Syracuse, Crossgates Mall near Albany, Colonie Center Mall near Albany, Boulevard Mall near Buffalo, Walden Galleria near Buffalo, Clifton Park Center near Albany, Arnot Mall in Horseheads, Eastview Mall, Waterloo Premium Outlets, Salmon Run Mall in Watertown, Sangertown Square in New Hartford, Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, a shopping plaza in Orchard Park, The Mall at Greece Ridge near Rochester and Wilton Mall in Saratoga Springs. The company's diversification strategy backfired, he said, and Ascena ended up with a large portfolio of mall brands when the retail industry was shifting nearly entirely online.

"The company was never able to get out of that hole", Campagna said.

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