Plus Size Retailer Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

After reporting three consecutive years in losses, Urban Brands Inc., the parent company of the Ashley Stewart chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on September 21, 2010.

Ashley Stewart is known throughout the country for their flair and trendy yet colorful clothing.  They opened their doors in New York in 1991 as a place for plus size women to shop.  Over the years they have expanded to over 200 stores across the country and given women a newfound confidence by selling clothing that other retailers wouldn’t offer.

According to court papers, the very popular clothing retailer started to experience economic problems around 2008 when they saw a shift in sales.  Despite problems with the brand, they intend to continue operating under stalking horse bidder New Ashley Stewart LLC, which has offered to buy the assets.

Although Plus-size African American women ranked the Ashley Stewart chain as their No. 3 favorite place to shop, Urban Brands reported a loss of $28.6 million in 2009, and sales fell to $174.6 million from $179.6 million the year before.

In its bankruptcy filing, Urban Brands estimated assets inthe range of $10 to $50 million and liabilities in the range of$100 to $500 million.


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  1. Naza says

    My readers will be sad to see that Ashley Stewart is suffering from financial woes. I do think that the “fashions” in their stores do need a bit of an update. When I go to the store I always feel like there is no coherency in the line. It’s kind of like what happened with Lane Bryant a few years ago when it went through its midlife crisis. I hope AS can get it together! Thanks for the update!

  2. Olga says

    I have always been able to walk in this store and come out with a nice big bag! I am upset to hear of this and I hope they can cut their loses and move on. I would love to see them come back bigger and stronger.

    We have just lost one of our hugest retailers!!

  3. says

    This is such a blow for plus size women we really don’t want to loose any of our plus size stores when the demand for plus size clothing is increasing, it’s so disappointing we need all the variety we can get out there for all ages, if the clothing at one store doesn’t appeal to you I’m sure it will appeal to another age groups and others women’s individual taste.

  4. says

    Thanks for the update – this news is surprising to me! Almost everyone that knows me knows that I love Ashley Stewart clothing and even more now that it seems they have added new flavor to their collections..especially in the accessory area…I am really surprised…hoping AS can come back up!

  5. olga says

    I especially always loved their sale racks!!
    LiMarie, what are we going to do girl without AS??

  6. Petite Petite says

    Sorry, ladies, but what we don’t need is another plus size clothing shop — that’s not the answer to a very “growing” problem out there. Your health is of more concern that what Omar the Tentmaker makes and if it’s fashionable. Just because they make it in your size doen’t mean you need to wear it. Large doesn’t make you in charge. Large will make life very difficult for you, if it hasn’t already. I was on your side of the fence at one time, except that wearing a size 10 places me in the obesity category since I am only 4’9-1/2″ tall.

  7. Dyan says

    Petite Petite,
    Opening up a plus size clothing shop does not encourage an unhealthy lifestyle. All women are entitled to fashionable clothing to wear on a daily basis and plus size women should not be excluded from this at all. Stores like Ashley Stewart, Lane Bryant and The Avenue embrace women with curves and we embrace their ability to do what many retailers aren’t daring enough to do.

    I’m happy to hear that you have maintained a weight that you are comfortable with but the women of are very comfortable in their curves and the closing of Ashley Stewart is relevant to us.

  8. olga says

    Yes, darling at your height that size can be a problem that you handled very well. Congrats on getting to your goal. I also need to get more fit, I got diabetes after the birth of my child. It is something I am working hard on.

    I don’t know how you went from Ashley Stewart going out of business to plus size women smarting up, getting rid of the extra weight and wear straight size clothes.
    And by all means who is Omar and being big is just a size it doesn’t cloud our judgement, there isn’t no big girl that I know that is buying a ‘tent’ dress anytime soon.LOL.

    I really appreciate you sharing your story. But you aren’t on our side of the fence anymore and it shows just by the way you responded to this thread.
    I may lose this extra weight one day or I may not. In the mean time do I stay indoors and just wear a blanket over myself and hide my fatness??
    No, I have a life to life, a 9-5, picking up my children from school and twice a week hubby takes me out on a date. I need to be styled to my favorite fashion trends with my favorite colors.

    Venus Diva is not in any way celebrating the health issues that come with our extra weight. We celebrate our inner beauty and our curves. Fat does not take away from our looks. I am prime example of that.

    Hope to see more of you around here even though you are no longer, a fat girl.

    Curvy hugs,

  9. olga says

    Oh and Dyan, thank you for your response, I loved it and we bonded some how, lol.

    Thriving in our curves is how we do…period!

  10. Marisa says

    Oh no I have an Ashley Stewart near my home I hope they can recover
    Someone mentioned Lane Bryant had financial issues as well and I didn’t shop with them for years,because of the lack of up to date fashion
    But they turned it around and now also offer footwear, so hopefully Ashley Stewart can get back on their feet
    We need them as some of these designers are getting into fuller figure fashions at a snails pace,I don’t have a budget to buy Tadashi or some of the others

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