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New York & Company acquires bankrupt plus-size retailer

Fashion to Figure will live to see another day.

In an acquisition that will give it entry into the $21 billion women's plus-size apparel market, New York & Company has entered into an agreement to purchase certain assets of Fashion to Figure for $1.4 million in cash (plus no more than $1.0 million of fees and expenses). Fashion to Figure, which filed for Chapter 11 protection on November 13, 2017, is currently holding liquidation sales at its stores.

The agreement covers all intellectual property, including trademarks, trade names, an extensive customer database, and all in-store assets, with the exception of inventory. New York & Company announced plans to re-introduce a revitalized Fashion to Figure brand to the marketplace in early February through an online site and select Fashion to Figure stores.

Fashion to Figure was founded in 2004 by Michael and Nicholas Kaplan, great-grandsons of Lena Bryant, founder of plus-size clothing chain Lane Bryant. The company's name was derived from a Lena Bryant quote: "You should never ask women to conform their figures to fashion, but rather bring fashion to the figure."

“We are excited to expand into the plus business with the acquisition of Fashion to Figure’s intellectual property, as we believe that the business the Kaplans built has true brand potential and has a brand platform that is compatible with New York & Company," said Gregory Scott, CEO, New York & Company, which operates 459 stores. "We believe Fashion to Figure has strong name recognition with the plus-size consumer and a very loyal consumer base, with a database of approximately 500,000 customers, that we believe we can effectively leverage to grow the brand, particularly online, to drive profitable future growth. We see an opportunity to enter into an underserved and growing segment of the women’s apparel market."

New York & Company said it expects to contact various landlords in an effort to negotiate satisfactory agreements regarding future lease terms to remain in certain existing Fashion to Figure locations. The retailer also expects to hire certain former employees of Fashion to Figure, including members of the design, merchandising and eCommerce teams, who are expected to join the company during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.

NPD estimated the size of the women’s plus-size apparel market was approximately $21 billion in 2016, and that it has grown at more than twice the rate of the overall U.S. women’s apparel market.

"We believe the combination of Fashion to Figure’s outstanding brand equity and expertise in the plus-size space coupled with New York & Company’s operational expertise, omni-channel capabilities, strong digital business, and celebrity platform will enable us to generate significant top line growth and sustained profits with the Fashion to Figure business while ensuring to preserve its existing brand DNA," said Scott.

The transaction is expected to close late in the fourth quarter of 2017.
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