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Christopher & Banks Is Back. Can New TV Show Revive Once-Bankrupt Brand?

Almost one year to the day, Christopher & Banks is bouncing back from Chapter 11 bankruptcy with a media-centric reinvention.

The women’s wear retailer is banking on a new weekly TV show and virtual styling program to reassert itself with shoppers. The company also teamed with Salesfloor to launch the interactive “Style Me” virtual stylist experience on Jan. 4, led by Kim Decker, a 40-plus year brand veteran who previously served as the chain’s senior vice president of store operations.

Decker oversees the “Style Me” interactive platform with six virtual stylists previously working as top C&B retail store managers, to engage one-on-one with customers via chat, email, and text to help customers personalize outfits. Shoppers will find a “Chat with a Stylist” option at the bottom of Christopher & Banks webpages where they can book an appointment.

Consumers can use Style Me’s “Personal Shopper” feature to send their stylist a list of what they’re looking for along with their budget to create a fully personalized look.

Christopher & Banks traces its roots all the way back to 1956, with the brand specializing in offering women’s value-priced apparel and accessories catering to women of all sizes. Originally known as Braun’s Fashion, the retailer rebranded to Christopher & Banks after opening its first stores under the new banner in 2000. But the company, long struggling prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, was unable to pay off its loans and filed for bankruptcy in January last year, closing all 449 stores.

Although the struggling retailer was initially acquired by ALCC, LLC, an affiliate of Hilco Merchant Resources, for $24.6 million last year, the affiliate turned to interactive media agency iMedia Brands as a buyer designee to operate and promote the surviving Christopher & Banks brand.

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As part of its facelift, C&B relaunched two stores last May in Branson, Mo. and Coon Rapids, Minn., before opening three new retail stores in Nov. in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Canton, Ohio; and Greensburg, Penn., all top-performing C&B retail stores previous to the closures, the company said. In iMedia’s third quarter earnings call in November, Peterman said the Branson store had already exceeded $1 million in net sales since opening.

So far, Christopher & Banks reported a 50 percent sequential increase in net sales from the second quarter to the third quarter, maintaining the highest gross margin across iMedia properties.

The agency promotes the retailer’s website with the Christopher & Banks television program on its flagship TV network ShopHQ, which is distributed to more than 80 million U.S. homes and is positioned as a competitor to longstanding TV shopping networks including Qurate Retail’s QVC and HSN.

ShopHQ has aired over 100 hours of C&B programming year-to-date, with the retailer’s sales performance continuing to be “category leading” for the network, iMedia says. C&B sales on ShopHQ grew approximately 250 percent from the second quarter to the third quarter, with new customers growing by leaps and bounds in that timeframe. These revenues are on pace to double again sequentially into the fourth quarter, establishing it as the fastest-growing fashion brand on ShopHQ.

On ShopHQ, Christopher & Banks hosts three hour-long programs every Monday at 8 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

“In less than nine months, C&B has become the fastest growing fashion brand on ShopHQ,” said Tim Peterman, iMedia CEO. “This national television awareness has enabled us to launch an interactive C&B personalized styling service on It has driven the launch of the first-ever C&B direct-to-consumer catalog and it has supported the reopening of five C&B retail stores. Our progress to reengage C&B’s 1.5 million passionate customers continues to gain momentum.”

C&B mailed its DTC catalog in October, with the retailer saying it was “well received” by customers, particularly those who used to shop at a Christopher & Banks store in their town. C&B followed up this initial catalog mailing with an additional November holiday catalog.

The attempted turnaround includes a significant back-end overhaul. Last April, ShopHQ transitioned the Christopher & Banks digital business off its legacy third-party e-commerce platform and off its legacy third-party logistics (3PL) service and onto ShopHQ’s proprietary e-commerce platform fulfilled by its own 600,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Bowling Green, Ky.

Later that month, the merchandising team introduced new collections to, which were the first new products offered to the retailer’s approximately 1.5 million customers since iMedia took over operations.

In May, ShopHQ premiered its first television show, titled Christopher & Banks with Decker as the brand’s on-air ambassador. The retailer’s debut offered more than 40 unique and exclusive items, with the show’s early episodes outperforming than ShopHQ’s initial expectations.