It is a curious time in retail, right? Not only did we hear about news of Ascena filing, just last week, RTW also filed for bankruptcy. RTW who owns NY&Co and Fashion to Figure. So, what does that mean for Lane Bryant, Catherines and Fashion to Figure?! Well, we have news about what is happening with Catherines to share with you.

Before you get worried, the news is curious and kind of exciting…

In a news release that dropped today, Ascena is restructuring. Dropping a few brands and closing a few stores. Ascena will keep operations with its Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant, Justice and Lou & Grey brands. All done through a reduced number of retail stores and online.

What does this mean for Catherines?

Image from Ascena Retail

This Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows for strategic restructuring and for particular assets to be sold. This means that Catherines and its assets will be sold. In addition? All of the Catherines locations will close its doors.

BUT.

All is NOT lost.

There is a buyer. One we know and are familiar with.

City Chic? The Australian based plus size legacy brand? They are coming in to purchase the assets.

“Ascena has entered into an asset purchase agreement with City Chic Collective Limited to sell the Catherines intellectual property assets and to transition its e-commerce business to a subsidiary of City Chic.”

Liz from With Wonder and Whimsy at a Catherines event- Catherines to be sold and close
Liz from With Wonder and Whimsy at a Catherines event

Catherine’s will move to an online only brand, with City Chic as it’s parent company. As a brand who is one of the few who carry options up through a size 36, finding a home is a great thing.

City Chic, Really?

Yes. Not only has City Chic been friends of the TCF brand, we recently shared how City Chic recently purchased and relaunched the Avenue brand. As we heard from a few of you, the change was refreshing and exciting.

Adding Catherines to the mix is a curious addition, but one that we are here for.

So now, City Chic now owns and operates Hips & Curves, Avenue, and soon, Catherines!

But what does this also mean for Lane Bryant and Cacique stores?

Right now, it is too early to tell, but there have been plans announced.

Liz from With Wonder and Whimsy at a Catherines event- Catherines to be sold and close
With Wonder and Whimsy at a Catherines event

Ascena plans to “reduce its footprint with the closing of a significant number of Justice stores and a select number of Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant and Lou & Grey stores. This includes the exit of all stores across brands in Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.”

As of right now, both Catherines and Lane Bryant are still operating online and in store.

It is great news to hear and learn that we get to keep both brands, throughout this transition. Especially as there are not many in existence.

The one thing that does suck with this news, is that we lose another chain of stores to shop in store.

If I could challenge City Chic to do one thing, it would be to consider an in-store strategy. With their family of brands, it would be great to see a mini or mega boutique situation happen. Like a little department store.

Right?!

With such a major loss of plus size stores to shop in person, this needs to be considered as soon as possible.

But, in the meantime, City Chic shows to be a conglomerate and major player to watch in plus size fashion!

What do you think of this news?

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