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Plus-Size Retailer Avenue Stores Completes Strategic Recapitalization

Women’s plus-size specialty chain Avenue Stores LLC has completed a strategic recapitalization that includes a new revolving credit facility and new capital from owner Versa Capital Management.

The new revolving credit facility was provided by PNC Bank, N.A., and retires the chain’s existing term loan. The company said the line will fund “ongoing liquidity and working capital needs and support the company’s strategic plans.”

Moreover, in connection with the new facility, Versa Capital Management has provided new capital to the company as well. Gregory Segall, Versa’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, “We are pleased to have worked with the PNC team to help deliver an attractive financing package that provides Avenue with the resources to continue executing its strategic initiatives.”

Mark Walsh, CEO of Avenue, said of recapitalization, “As part of our mission, we are putting the customer first and listening to the feedback we receive to improve every aspect of what we do. We look forward to continuing to empower plus-size women with an unparalleled range of quality fashion choices.”

The retail chain in October increased its customer engagement ability through the launch of a mobile app, which allows users to buy item through the platform and have their purchases shipped to their local Avenue store. One feature connected to shopping through the app is the standard shipping fee of just $1 for all purchases.

Avenue has been in operation for more than 30 years, beginning first as Sizes Unlimited in 1983. The chain was once part of the portfolio of PPR’s Redcat USA division when it was then known as United Retail Group Inc. PPR, or Pinault Printemps Redoute Group, has since changed its name in 2013 to Kering S.A. to reflect its focus on luxury goods brands. In February 2012 and hurt by the recession that began at the end of 2007, United Retail Group filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition for bankruptcy court protection. An affiliate of Versa Capital became the new owner two months later after buying the company via a court-supervised auction. And in 2014, Versa completed a dividend recapitalization of the retailer, working with JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.

In the years since Versa’s acquisition, the company has moved more of its business online and is now an omni-channel retailer. Avenue has also seen much competition in the online space, particularly from start-ups who see the plus-size market as a sector ripe for disruption and having potential for huge growth.