Ascena owns the Ann Taylor brand

Ascena owns the Ann Taylor brand

Ascena Retail Group, owner of the Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant chains, has reportedly sold its Catherines brand for more than double what it was initially offered.

In a filing with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, said it had sold the intellectual-property assets and e-commerce business of plus-size brand Catherines to US FullBeauty Brands in an auction last week.

The winning bid was US$40.8m, almost double the offer it had from Australia's City Chic, which had originally offered $16m, according to reports. The company announced it had not been successful in its bid in a statement on Wednesday (17 September). The Sydney-headquartered firm is now said to be the backup bidder following the auction with a $39.9m offer.

In announcing bankruptcy protection in July, Ascena said it would close all of its Catherines stores, a significant number of Justice stores, and some Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant, and Lou & Grey stores. It will also exit all stores across brands in Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Others that have succumbed to bankruptcy during the pandemic include Brooks Brothers, Neiman Marcus and Stein Mart.

Full Beauty Brands Operations is understood to have emerged out of bankruptcy itself last year following a restructuring that put the brand under the control of Oaktree Capital Management and Goldman Sachs' merchant banking division.

Neither Ascena Retail nor FullBeauty Brands returned a request for comment at the time of going to press.