After twice filing for bankruptcy, Ashley Stewart Inc. turned its focus to e-commerce, staged a comeback and attracted a new majority investor. The turnaround may serve as a model for other struggling retailers.
Investment firm the Invus Group LLC acquired a majority stake in the plus-size fashion retailer from Clearlake Capital Group and FirePine Group. Financial terms were not disclosed. Clearlake purchased a majority stake in Secaucus, New Jersey-based Ashley Stewart in 2014 out of bankruptcy, the firm’s second filing. Ashley Stewart previously filed for bankruptcy in 2010. Ashley Stewart, founded in 1991, once owned 168 stores, but now operates 89. Under Clearlake’s and FirePine’s ownership, Ashley Stewart reached profitability mostly through digital marketing, including investing more in e-commerce, mobile and social media.