Clearlake Capital Makes Bid for Ashley Stewart

Spring dresses at Ashley Stewart

Spring dresses at Ashley Stewart

Secaucus, NJ—Clearlake Capital Group, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, has emerged as the stalking horse bidder at the upcoming auction of Ashley Stewart’s assets.

Last month, the plus-size women’s retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Newark, its second such filing in four years.

While the retailer plans to close 27 stores to help cut costs, it told the court that Clearlake gave an offer of $18 million for its assets. According to court documents, Ashley Stewart requested permission to pay a $400,000 breakup fee if Clearlake is outbid at the auction.

Clearlake Capital Group will reportedly provide Ashley Stewart with capital to help its recently refocused merchandising and digital strategies, while maintaining about 1,750 full- and part-time employees.

In addition, a new senior management team led by interim President James Rhee will attempt to reinvent the specialty retailer and return it to profitability.

Michael Abate, senior vice president of finance, treasurer and secretary for Ashley Stewart, said in a recent news release that “the plus-size market is poised for increased growth and the Ashley Stewart shopper is in the prized 25 to 55 age demographic, when women are at the height of their earning power.”


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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology.