Express to discontinue Canadian operations


US-based apparel retailer Express has announced its plans to close all 17 Canadian stores and discontinue its Canadian operations through its Canadian subsidiary, Express Fashion Apparel Canada.

This move is being taken as part of its strategy to improve profitability and manage and optimise its store footprint.

As a part of this move, Express Canada filed an application for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List) in Toronto.

Express president and CEO David Kornberg said: "The challenging Canadian retail environment, coupled with unfavorable exchange rates prevented us from meeting the expectations we had when we entered the market in 2011. While difficult, this action is best for the future of Express and we are committed to carry it out in a way that reflects our respect and appreciation for employees who are impacted.

“The decision to exit Canada is consistent with our long-term strategy and will have no impact on our operations in the US, which remain in a solid financial position.”

“Our overriding focus remains to invest in and direct our resources towards those areas that can generate the greatest return, including growing our e-commerce business, relaunching our customer loyalty programme, and continuing to build our omnichannel capabilities to allow our customers to engage with our brand and shop wherever, whenever, and however they want.

“The decision to exit Canada is consistent with our long-term strategy and will have no impact on our operations in the US, which remain in a solid financial position.”

For the fiscal year ended 28 January, Express Canada had posted net sales of $34m and a net loss of approximately $6m.

Express Canada also plans to close 17 stores across Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario, as well as conduct outlet closing sales this month.

Following the closures, Canadian customers will continue to be able to make purchases through the company's e-commerce website and the Express mobile app.

Express Canada has sought the appointment of Alvarez & Marsal Canada as monitor in the CCAA proceedings to oversee the liquidation and wind-down process.

Express currently operates more than 650 retail and factory outlet stores across the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. Its merchandise is also available at franchise locations and online in Latin America.