ASHLEY STEWART IN CHAPTER 11: Plus-size retail chain Ashley Stewart on Monday filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition for bankruptcy court protection. The Secaucus, N.J.-based chain filed its petition in a Newark bankruptcy court. The filing is the company’s second — the last time it filed was in September 2010. It was bought out of bankruptcy by GB Merchant Partners that same year. Earlier this year, the chain hired PricewaterhouseCoopers as financial adviser to check out strategic options for the retailer.

The company said the business will be restructured, likely through the “sale of substantially all of its assets as a going concern.” The retail chain also said the buyer will be one of the “financial or strategic” firms that either has already signed a letter of intent or has indicated it intends to do so. The retailer operates 168 stores across more than 26 states. It will shutter 27 underperforming stores. Ashley Stewart targets consumers between the ages of 25 and 55.

This story first appeared in the March 11, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.