Express to close 100 stores, stock jumps 21%

Clothing retailer plans to close 100 stores by 2022, cut jobs

TRD NATIONAL /
Jan.January 22, 2020 03:00 PM
(Credit: Getty Images)
(Credit: Getty Images)

Clothing retailer Express will close 100 stores by 2022, joining the growing group of retail chains that have announced large-scale closures in recent years.

The announcement, part of Express’s plan to reduce costs by $80 million over the next three years, led the company’s stock price to jump 20.7 percent, up to $5.01 per share as of the market’s close on Wednesday. Express said it expects to save $25 million through process improvements, including inventory optimization. The remaining $55 million will come from workforce restructuring.

The 100 store closures include nine stores that closed in 2019. Thirty-one stores will shutter by the end of January, and an additional 35 are expected to close by the end of January 2021. Express said it’s expecting to lose $90 million in sales revenue by 2022, which would be offset by the operating cost savings of the closed stores.

The stores closing this month include one in Wesley Chapel, Florida; two outside of Chicago in Vernon Hills and River Oaks Center; a store at 51st Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan and one in Yonkers in New York; three stores in northern California and one in central California, according to Business Insider.

Like other retailers, the clothing chain will be investing in e-commerce, with plans to invest up to $60 million into technology.

“Today we are unveiling our new corporate strategy, called The EXPRESSway Forward, and we are focused on profitable growth,” CEO Tim Baxter said in a statement. “My expectation is that we will return to a mid-single-digit operating margin through a combination of low-single-digit comp sales growth, margin expansion and cost reductions. This will of course take some time, but we have a clear path.”

Columbus, Ohio-based Express is part of an endless list of retailers that have shut down stores across the U.S. in recent years, leaving mall owners with empty spaces. Last year, retailers announced plans to shutter roughly 8,600 stores, including Payless, Forever 21 and Sears. While some opt to restructure, other retailers decide to go out of business.

This week, Papyrus also said it was closing all of its 254 stores. The greeting card and stationary chain will shutter the majority of its locations in the next four to six weeks.


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