WHP Global’s new retail operating platform joint venture will operate all direct-to-consumer (DTC) commerce in the US for Express and its retail brand Bonobos and hopes to “set the stage” for long-term growth for both brands.

Phoenix is a collaboration between WHP Global, an affiliate of Simon Property Group, Brookfield Properties and Centennial Real Estate and aims to preserve over 450 physical stores and nearly 7,000 jobs across the country as well as the retailers’ e-commerce operations.

CEO of WHP Global CEO and chairman Yehuda Shmidman emphasised the importance of this transaction: “We are thrilled to partner with Simon, Brookfield, and Centennial to launch Phoenix.”

Shmidman added the court approval and formation of Phoenix marks a “vital step” in its mission to save Express Inc. and continue serving millions of customers who love the Express and Bonobos brands.

He said: “With the restructuring actions accomplished during the Chapter 11 process, we believe Express is now well-positioned for a powerful path forward, benefiting all stakeholders, including our valued vendor partners, licensees, landlords and dedicated team.”

In April it was announced that all 12 of Express, Inc.’s 12 UpWest stores were set to close along with 95 Express retail stores as part of the bankruptcy arrangement.

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Express Inc also said at the time it had received a non-binding letter of intent from a consortium led by WHP Global for the potential sale of a substantial majority of the company’s retail stores and operations.

The move to file for bankruptcy followed reports that Express, Inc. was considering debt restructuring and possible bankruptcy after dwindling sales and soaring losses. In its third quarter, Express Inc announced a net loss of $154.2m versus $39.3m a year earlier. Its operating losses had increased to $138.4m versus a loss of $28.2m a year earlier.