WHP Global, the owner of the Toys “R” Us and Express retail brands, has secured $375 million in growth capital from private equity giant Ares Management Corp.

The transaction values the company at $1.6 billion, according to a statement reviewed by Bloomberg News. The investment will add significant cash to the retail operator’s balance sheet and spur its “next wave of acquisitions,” the companies said.

With valuations lower against the backdrop of an economic slowdown, WHP chairman and chief executive officer Yehuda Shmidman said he sees “an enormous amount of growth opportunities, and particularly for us that means more brand acquisitions.”

New York-based WHP was founded in 2009 by Shmidman with the help of funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management. The retail owner operates today across three core segments: fashion, hard goods and athletics. WHP’s portfolio of brands also includes Babies “R” Us, Anne Klein, Joseph Abboud, Joe’s Jeans, Lotto, Isaac Mizrahi and William Rast.

“The world of retail is volatile,” Shmidman said in an interview. “Our real thesis is all about investing in amazing brands that are for whatever reason in under-performing operating situations.”

For Ares, the deal originated from its special opportunities segment. As part of the transaction, private equity group partners Jordan Smith and Aaron Rosen will join the board at WHP.

“We believe that the current consumer environment is creating a growing opportunity set for the brand management model,” Smith said. “This investment gives us the opportunity to partner with a leading platform and capitalizes the business to go on offense to accelerate their pace of brand acquisitions.”

Moelis & Co. advised WHP on the deal, with Kirkland & Ellis LLP serving as legal counsel.