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Urban Brands, Inc. (Ashley Stewart Clothing Stores) Files for Chapter 11 Protection

Late Monday night/early Tuesday morning, Urban Brands, Inc. and a host of affiliates voluntarily filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware with plans to sell substantially all of their assets through a court-supervised bankruptcy auction. The companies began in 1991 and sell "fashion-forward and inspirational apparel for plus sized urban women under the brand name of Ashley Stewart" and, until recently, the Marianne brand name. At present, there are 210 Ashley Stewart retail stores in 26 states and the companies employ approximately 2,100 people. Sales, which totaled $174.6 million in 2009, are also made through the website. The companies generated a net loss of $28.6 million in 2009; while it was an improvement over 2008's $44.3 million net loss, the improvement was insufficient to improve upon liquidity problems that have plagued the companies since 2007.

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