Women’s apparel retailer Limited Stores files for bankruptcy

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By Arathy S Nair and Tom Hals

<span class="articleLocation”>U.S. women’s apparel chain The Limited filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday after closing all
250 stores, the latest brick-and-mortar retailer to fall victim
to changing tastes and online competitors.

The retailer that began as a single store more than 50 years
ago blamed declining mall traffic, falling sales, expensive
leases and the shift toward online shopping.

Retailers filing for bankruptcy in the past year include
Aeropostale Inc, Pacific Sunwear of California Inc
, Sports Authority, Vestis Retail Group and American
Apparel.

In addition, department store chains such as Sears Holdings
Corp and Macy’s Inc are planning on closing
scores of locations this year.

At the same time, internet retailer Amazon.com Inc said this month it plans to add 100,000 jobs, expanding its
workforce by more than 50 percent, to speed deliveries.

While The Limited’s stores are closing, its name may live
on.

An affiliate of private equity firm Sycamore Partners agreed
to provide a $25.75 million “stalking horse” bid for the
company’s intellectual property, which includes its trademarks,
website address and social media accounts.

The stalking horse sets a minimum bid for an asset in an
auction, which The Limited hopes to hold within 30 days.

Sycamore acquired the intellectual property of Coldwater
Creek after the women’s apparel chain filed for bankruptcy.
While the chain’s stores closed in 2014, Coldwater Creek
continues to sell through its website.

The Limited grew from a single store in Upper Arlington,
Ohio, in 1963 and went public in 1969 as The Limited Inc, and
later L Brands. The chain grew to 750 stores at its peak.

Beginning in the 1980s, L Brands launched or acquired
Limited Express, Victoria’s Secret, Lane Bryant, Lerner New
York, Henri Bendel, Limited Too, Abercrombie & Fitch, Express
Men and Cacique.

In 2007, Sun Capital Partners Inc, a private equity firm,
acquired a majority stake in Limited Stores and bought the rest
in 2010.

Despite closing The Limited stores, Sun Capital told its
investors that it had earned nearly double its initial $50
million investment in the retailer.

The asset sales are subject to approval from the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, where the Limited
Stores LLC, the chain’s parent, filed for Chapter 11.

Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP is The Limited’s legal
adviser, while RAS Management Advisors LLC is its restructuring
adviser. Guggenheim Securities LLC is the investment banker for
the restructuring.



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