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  • INDUSTRY NEWS

    • On March 25, 2019, Ascena Retail Group announced that it's selling a majority interest in its Maurices discount apparel banner to an affiliate of private equity firm OpCapita LLP for approximately $300 million, according to press releases from both companies. Ascena will maintain a minority share, and will continue to support the brand through a managed services agreement, including support for IT, supply chain, sourcing and some back office functions, according to the Ascena release. Ascena said it expects to receive about $200 million in cash after expenses, and that the proceeds will be used to pay down the company's debt. Maurices will still be led by George Goldfarb, the banner's president and Chief Executive Officer, and its current management team. Jeff Kirwan, former president and CEO of Gap brand, will join as Executive Chairman, according to the OpCapita release. They will also "be supported by OpCapita's investment team, as well as a dedicated team in the U.S.," according to the private equity firm.
    • On March 21, 2019, it was reported, Levi Strauss began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the name LEVI, pricing 36,666,667 shares of its Class A common stock at $17 apiece, just higher than its target between $14 and $16, according to a company press release. That will raise $623.3 million for the denim brand, giving it a valuation of $6.55 billion.
    • On March 20, 2019, it was reported, DSW has changed its corporate name to Designer Brands Inc. "which supports its vision for the future and reflects its expertise in building brands and delivering differentiated experiences," according to a company press release. The company also revealed a three-year strategic plan to build exclusive brands through Camuto Group's design and sourcing capabilities; expand services, including nail bars and repairs; enhance the VIP loyalty program; and launch a new loyalty program for The Shoe Company.
    • On March 19, 2019, it was reported, Shopko is going out of business. The retailer announced that despite looking, it hadn't found a buyer and will begin winding down its retail operations this week. It also is exploring options for its optical business. The company filed for bankruptcy in January, at which time it also put its pharmacy business up for auction. After initially closing 38 stores upon filing for Chapter 11 protection, in mid-February Shopko announced the closure of 251 additional stores. "This is not the outcome that we had hoped for when we started our restructuring efforts," said Russ Steinhorst, Shopko CEO. "We want to thank all of our teammates for their hard work and dedication during their time at Shopko." Gordon Brothers will oversee the liquidation process, which Shopko expects to be completed in 10-12 weeks. The Green Bay, Wis.-based retailer was founded in 1962, and in January was operating more than 360 stores in 26 states, including small-format Shopko Hometown stores that made up more than half of its store count and four standalone optical locations.