Women's value fashion retailer New York & Company is to buy the Fashion to Figure brand for a total of $2.4m, in a move that expands its reach into the plus-size clothing business.

The purchase price includes all fees and expenses, and covers all intellectual property, including trademarks, trade names, a database of around 500,000 customers, and all in-store assets, with the exception of inventory, New York & Company said yesterday (28 November).

The deal comes after Fashion to Figure filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month, with TFT Acquisition LLC the successful bidder at an auction run as part of its reorganisation. The business is due to be acquired by New York & Company late in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017.

New York & Company, which operates 459 retail stores, says it expects to negotiate lease terms to remain in certain existing Fashion to Figure locations and will retain some of Fashion to Figure's design, merchandising and eCommerce teams. It will also be negotiating with certain market vendors in an effort to secure inventory for a relaunch of the brand in early 2018.

Fashion to Figure was founded in 2004 by Michael and Nicholas Kaplan who are the great-grandsons of Lena Bryant, the founder of the plus-size clothing chain Lane Bryant.

"We see an opportunity to enter into an underserved and growing segment of the women's apparel market," says Gregory Scott, New York & Company's CEO, adding: "We believe we can effectively leverage to grow the brand, particularly online, to drive profitable future growth."

He cites figures from The NPD Group that estimate the size of the women's plus-size apparel market was $21bn in 2016, and has grown at more than twice the rate of the overall US women's apparel market.This outsized growth is expected to continue.

"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."