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Ascena to Sell Catherines and Close Stores… Here’s What to Know

Liz from With Wonder and Whimsy at a Catherines event

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?

Catherines brand to be sold in Ascena bankruptcy
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?

As The Curvy Fashionista editors, we write about stuff we love and we think you'll like too. The Curvy Fashionista often has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

Written by Marie Denee

I am the Editor in Chic of The Curvy Fashionista. Often goofy. Forever emo. Always a Virgo. You can find me somewhere grooving to 90s R&B.

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  1. Wouldn’t it be fun if city chic opened up a small retail shop with one section of Catherine’s maybe they’re top 10 or something and a section for city chic and a section for some other brands behind of fun All in one retail store. Somebody get the word out to city chic!

  2. Lane Bryant is continuing on in the Phoenix, AZ market, and Catherine’s is open as well. I Love City Chic! My best description of this brand is between Avenue and Torrid. I have a nostalgic feeling towards the brick and mortar stores, but I guess we have to move with the times 🤔

  3. As someone that designed for Catherine’s I am very sad to not be able to design for this beautiful amazing woman any more. Thank you for supporting us over these years. Hoping that City Chic will continue to produce same quality, fit and style that YOU all love!
    If anyone in the industry knows of any job leads into apparel design pls email me on LinkedIn Megan voelpel

  4. I’m with you all. I totally miss shopping in brick and mortar plus size clothes. I will really miss Catherine’s I loved their stuff. I’m hoping City Chic will consider the idea of any kind of retail stores. Especially considering the games people can play with sizes, I like to try things on.

  5. I am a fluffy sized lady who truly appreciates the ability to try on the clothes. Some shorter models in the catalog may wear the same blouse or other article of clothing totally different than a taller model due to torso length. Slacks and jeans also fit different from pictures. Please reconsider in closing our Catherine stores and only offering online ordering.

  6. My biggest question is what does it mean for those of us who wear the petite-plus sized tops and dresses? Catherine’s has been the only place I can find them. I’m 5’2″ and need the petite-scaled tops! Pants can be hemmed; most tops can’t. Also, the “petites” have different scaling in the neckline, sleeves, and even the shoulders. Will City Chic keep selling the petites? And will they be the same nice clothes that Catherines has now?

    I do agree with your idea that City Chic open some stores so we can try clothes on! If they don’t want to keep inventory, they could have examples in one size for us to look at, use the storefront as a place where we can pickup orders (ideally with free shipping-to-store), have a dressing room where we can try on what we ordered, and let us make free returns at the store. (The dressing room keeps us from having to bring stuff home and make a second trip to return what doesn’t work; having that option would be the next best thing to actually buying in-store.)

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