Fashion Retailer Express Inks Deal With WHP

Fashion apparel retailer Express has completed its previously announced transaction with turnaround firm WHP Global.

With the transaction, WHP Global has invested $260 million in the firm, acquiring 7.4% of the firm for $25 million and 60% of an intellectual property joint venture for $235 million, the companies said in a Wednesday (Jan. 25) press release.

“As our team continues its strong focus on returning the core Express business to growth and profitability and advancing our EXPRESSway Forward strategy, our partnership with WHP Global will allow us to achieve greater scale through non-core domestic licensing opportunities and international expansion,” Express CEO Tim Baxter said in the release.

As PYMNTS reported in December, WHP Global owns and manages brands with a combined $4.5 billion in retail sales, focused on those with “legacy character traits.”

The turnaround firm owns a number of companies, including Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Anne Klein, Isaac Mizrahi, Joseph Abboud, Lotto, Joe’s Jeans and William Rast.

The news of the then-planned and now-completed partnership between WHP Global and Express came on the same day that the fashion apparel retailer released quarterly earnings figures that showed an 8% decline in comparable sales and a 17% decline in eCommerce demand.

“The third quarter was tougher than we anticipated and that is reflected in our results,” Baxter said in the Dec. 8 earnings report. “The macroeconomic, consumer and competitive environments were extremely challenging, and became more acute as the quarter progressed.”

With the gross proceeds from the now-completed transaction, Express will pay down a loan, invest in its omnichannel platform and pursue acquisitions of other brands with WHP Global, Baxter said in the Wednesday press release.

In addition, WHP Global Co-founder, Chairman and CEO Yehuda Shmidman was named a Class II director of Express, effective Wednesday, according to the press release.

“I am pleased to welcome Yehuda to the Express, Inc. Board of Directors and expect that his extensive experience in brand management will be of great value to our company,” Express Chairman of the Board Mylle H. Mangum said.

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