Ascena Retail Group has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Premier Brands Justice to sell the intellectual property, ecommerce business and other assets of the Justice brand. Premier Brands will serve as the stalking horse bidder in a court-supervised auction process.
“A significant number” of Justice stores closed when Ascena entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July, and the outcome of the auction will determine the fate of the remaining locations. Ascena plans to continue operating the Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant and Lou & Grey brands through both brick-and-mortar and online channels after the deal is completed.
“A sale of the Justice intellectual property, ecommerce business and other assets brings us closer to the completion of our restructuring process,” said Gary Muto, CEO of Ascena Retail Group in a statement. “With a reduced store footprint and a more focused collection of go-forward brands, we believe that Ascena will emerge from Chapter 11 better able to strategically invest in our future and generate sustainable, profitable growth.”
Ascena was hit hard by the pandemic, which forced it to furlough all associates at its 2,800 stores. The retailer aims to reduce its debt load by $1 billion through the restructuring process.