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Longtime Columbus-based company files for bankruptcy, announces 100+ store closures

Longtime Columbus-based company files for bankruptcy, announces 100+ store closures

Sav McKee

In 1980, a Columbus-based retailer experimented with a new concept, focused on trendy women’s apparel for 20-30 year olds.

Over time, this business expanded to offer men’s clothing too, and it eventually grew to over 500 stores nationwide. Decades later, Express Inc. (once called Limited Express when it was owned by Leslie Wexner’s Limited Brands) and its subsidiaries (UpWest and Bonobos) have voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, reporting nearly $1.2 billion in total debts and $1.3 billion in total assets as of March 2.

Once a trendsetter for chic office clothes and cool “going-out” apparel, Express announced it’s now closing 95 of its stores across 30 states, along with all 10 of the company’s other apparel brand, UpWest, starting tomorrow, April 23. The UpWest location at Easton Town Center already appears to be closed, according to Google.

Express’ press release says that their remaining stores will conduct business as usual as the Company works to right-size its lease portfolio and agreements. 


CEO Stewart  Glendinning emphasized, “Express has a strong portfolio of brands and a premier omni channel platform. Our top priority remains providing our customers with the contemporary styles and value they expect from us. We thank our associates for their continued hard work and commitment, and we appreciate the ongoing support of our vendors, suppliers and business partners.”

Currently, all of the Company’s online channels, including, and, along with all brand apps, are still accepting orders, according to the press release. All of the Company’s brands are fulfilling orders and processing returns, merchandise return policies remain unchanged, and gift cards and store credits are currently being redeemed in-store. Bonobos is continuing to serve its premium wholesale customers, and customer benefits related to the EXPRESS Insider program are expected to remain the same.

Express also announced today that it received a non-binding letter of intent from a group led by consumer brand acquisition and management firm, WHP Global, to potentially purchase the majority of its stores and operations. Filing for the Chapter 11 protection helps “facilitate the sale process,” according to their press release. 

It’s not yet been identified which Express stores will be closed in central Ohio. There’s one location at Easton, another at Polaris, and a factory outlet at Tanger Outlets.

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