Owner of Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant files for bankruptcy and will close some stores

Owner of Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant files for bankruptcy and will close some stores

The company behind Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant filed for bankruptcy Thursday and said it will close some stores under the umbrella of the Ascena Retail Group company. 

Ascena said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns as having “severely disrupted” its financial foundation. 

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. The company said it will also be shutting all Catherine Stores and a “significant number” of Justice stores. 

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“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. As a result, we took a strategic step forward today to protect the future of the business for all of our stakeholders,” said Carrie Teffner, interim executive chair of Ascena, in a statement

The agreement the company announced Thursday will reduce Ascena’s debt by approximately $1 billion, according to the release. 

Ascena was launched in 1962 by Roslyn Jaffe as the Dress Barn. In 2009, the company expanded by purchasing the company behind the girl’s clothing store Justice, and adopted the name Ascena in 2011. The company purchased Lane Bryant and Catherine brands in 2012, and further expanded by acquiring the parent company of Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lou & Grey in 2015. 

The company is the latest in a growing list of retailers to file for bankruptcy amid the coronavirus pandemic, following J. Crew, which announced it filed for bankruptcy in May, and Brooks Brothers, which announced earlier this month.