Dive Brief:

  • Women’s apparel retailer Express on Thursday said it will discontinue its Canadian operations through its subsidiary there, Express Fashion Apparel Canada Inc., and close all of its 17 Canadian stores in the process, according to a company press release.

  • Express will continue to operate 635 stores in the U.S., the company said.

  • The company was hit by a “challenging Canadian retail environment” and unfavorable currency exchange rates, Express CEO David Kornberg said in a statement.

Dive Insight:

While Express will keep all of its U.S. stores open, it has been struggling in that market as well. Fourth quarter net sales fell 11% to $678.8 million from $765.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Same-store sales fell 13% in Q4 2016, and e-commerce sales rose 9% to $170.1 million, accounting for 25% of net sales in the quarter.

In Canada, for the fiscal year ending Jan. 28, Express Canada’s net sales were some $34 million ($45 million in Canadian dollars), with a net loss of some $6 million, according to a press release. The company expects a pre-tax loss between $28 million and $34 million, driven by the write-down of the Express Canada investment and associated costs, including Q1 charges of about $6 million and Q2 charges between $22 million and $28 million, the company said. The company will report its second quarter results on June 1.

Express is one of the retailers formerly owned by Les Wexner’s L Brands, and it could be on track to falter in…