New York & Co. on Tuesday announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire certain assets of U.S. plus-size retailer Fashion to Figure for $1.4 million in cash plus no more than $1 million in fees and expenses.
New York & Company will acquire the assets — which were originally sold in Fashion to Figure's Chapter 11 auction — late in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, according to a press release from New York & Co.
The agreement covers all intellectual property, including trademarks, trade names, an extensive customer database and all in-store assets except for inventory, the company said. New York & Co. also said it plans to bring on some former employees from Fashion to Figure.
Fashion to Figure was founded in 2004 by Michael and Nicholas Kaplan, the great-grandsons of Lena Bryant, who founded the better-known plus-size clothing chain Lane Bryant. They took their company name from something their great-grandmother once said: "You should never ask women to conform their figures to fashion, but rather bring fashion to the figure."
Both chains have struggled with America’s convoluted attitude toward the market, despite the evidence that there is great — and rising — demand. Sales of women’s plus-size clothing rose 6% to $21.4 billion in 2016, according to market researcher NPD Group. By 2020, the group expects revenue in the segment could hit $24 billion.
About a year ago, H&M nixed its racks of plus-size clothing in its New York stores, and retailers like Old Navy have relegated sales to their websites.
But it does seem to be dawning on retailers that women of all sizes are interested in — and will pay good money for — stylish apparel that fits them well. For instance, online plus-size fashion brand Eloquii, originally founded by The Limited in 2011, opened a brick-and-mortar store this fall in Columbus, OH. Neiman Marcus this year introduced plus-size apparel departments in five of its off-price Last Call stores. And Target, in its partnership this summer from designer Victoria Beckham, for the first time featured limited-collection plus-size options in its stores.
In a statement Tuesday, New York & Co. CEO Gregory Scott said that the company is excited to be getting into the underserved and growing market segment. The company will bring celebrities into its future marketing plans, he added.
Founded in 1918 and public since 2004, New York City-based New York & Co. runs 466 retail stores in the U.S. Like many specialty apparel retailers, the company has run into headwinds of late. The company closed 11 flagship stores and six other stores during the fourth quarter last year. But it’s not highly leveraged, and the company pushed back against an activist investor that earlier this year advocated for a new board member and criticized its share price.