Aeropostale auction won by mall owners

Simon Property, General Growth will keep 229 stores open

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A consortium led by Simon Property Group and General Growth Properties has won an auction for the assets of Aeropostale Inc., with a plan to keep open 229 of the bankrupt teen retailer’s stores.

The bidding group also will keep the chain’s online business and licensing operation up and running, according to a statement. A Manhattan bankruptcy judge must still approve the deal after reviewing the terms and any objections.

A hearing on the matter has been set for Sept. 12. Terms of the deal weren’t included in the statement.

“Aéropostale looks forward to closing the sale and emerging from bankruptcy with new ownership as a financially stronger company positioned to compete and succeed in an evolving retail landscape,” the New York-based company said in the statement.

Aeropostale filed for bankruptcy in May, succumbing to competition from big-box stores, online merchants and “fast fashion” purveyors. The company also accused lead lender Sycamore Partners of pushing it into Chapter 11 to buy it on the cheap.

The bankruptcy judge rejected that claim and allowed the private equity firm to take part in the auction.

“We are pleased with the outcome of the Aeropostale Inc. bankruptcy auction, which will result in the repayment of our debt while enabling the company to keep open more than 200 stores, preserve thousands of jobs and continue to serve customers,” Sycamore said through a spokesman.

General Growth Properties owns Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville and Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines. Aéropostale operates a store in Jordan Creek Town Center and a factory store at Lindale Mall in Cedar Rapids,

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