Express, Inc. is an American fashion retailer that caters mainly to young men and women. The company is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Express operated 635 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico in 2017. As of February 1, 2020, there were 607 stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Limited Brands, in 1980, opened the first Express store, as women’s clothier “Limited Express” in Chicago’s Water Tower Place. Former CEO Michael Weiss joined the brand in 1981 when the test expanded to include eight stores. By 1986, Express had 250 stores and began testing the sale of men’s merchandise in 16 stores the following year. The men’s fashion line was spun off into its own brand, Structure, in 1989.
In 2001, Express became a dual gender brand with the reintegration of its Structure stores as “Express Men”. Dual gender Express stores began opening the following year. Structure apparel brand was sold to Sears in 2003.
In November 2019, Express announced spinoff UpWest, a DTC lifestyle brand geared towards health, wellness, and sustainability. With the launch of UpWest also came its philanthropic arm, The UpWest Foundation, which will donate 1% of total sales up to $1million towards Mental Health America, Random Acts and Freedom Dogs of America.
Express as a privately held company
On May 16, 2007, Limited Brands announced its intent to sell a 67% stake in Express to an affiliate of a private equity firm called Golden Gate Capital Partners, based in San Francisco. When the sale was finalized in July 2007, Golden Gate’s stake in the company was 75% instead of the announced 67%.
On May 13, 2010, the company sold 16 million shares for $17 each, raising about $272 million. Shares had been planned to sell between $18 and $20 each. On May 14, 2010, the shares opened at $17 to $16.50 before recovering slightly to close down 1.5% at $16.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Since the IPO, Golden Gate and Limited Brands gradually reduced their ownership interest in the Company. On July 29, 2011, Limited Brands sold its remaining ownership interest in the Company, and as a result of this disposition, ceased to be a related party as of the end of the second quarter of 2011. On March 19, 2012, Golden Gate sold its remaining ownership interest in the Company, and as of May 31, 2012, Golden Gate no longer had representation on the Board. As a result of the disposition and Board seat removal, Golden Gate ceased to be a related party as of June 1, 2012.
In May 2017, Express announced that it would close all 17 Canadian stores in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta due to what the retailer cited as “[a] challenging Canadian retail environment” and “unfavorable” exchange rates.
On January 22, 2020, Express announced that it would close approximately 100 of its stores in the United States over the next two years as part of a restructuring plan to lower its costs by $80 million annually. At the same time, the retailer also announced layoffs at its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio and its design studio in New York City.
In 2005, Express introduced a denim line, with a stitching on the back pockets called DPD. In 2006, Express introduced the King of Prides collection for men, which includes denim, T-shirts, and hooded sweaters.
In April 2008, Express released a limited women’s collection designed by Celia Birtwell. In early 2009, replacing the discontinued DPD jeans; Express introduced its newest denim line, Rerocks, in both women’s and in men. Just like the DPD jeans, Rerocks also have stitching on the back pockets and the materials are different.
In 2009, Express denim line was expanded with its extra low-rise Zelda jeans as well as introducing two new styles. One is a women’s denim, barely boot-cut in either the low-rise Zelda or the regular-rise Stella. The other is the men’s denim Zach, which is an extra-slim fit.
Express jeans come in different washes from darkest to lightest and fits from loose to tight.
For women’s denim: Mia styles: slim fit with a mid rise, Zelda styles: slim fit with an ultra low rise, Stella styles: regular fit with low rise jeans, Rerock styles: thick-stitched jeans
For men’s denim: Blake styles: loose fit Kingston styles: classic fit, tighter fitting than the Blake and looser than the Rocco or Zach, Rocco styles: slim fit Alec styles: extra slim fit
Today the jeans are characterized by fit. For women, the styles are Skinny, Legging, Barely Boot, Classic and Cropped. Men’s jeans are classified by three general fits: Skinny, Slim and Classic.
Express clothes are designed at the Express Design Studio on 111 Fifth Avenue New York City, New York in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.