Express to close 100 stores

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In this Dec. 22, 2017, file photo a woman shops at the Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Va. Clothing retailers, particularly those in malls, have been devastated by changing consumer behavior. More than 9,000 stores were shuttered last year. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Express, a staple in U.S. malls, will close about 100 stores as part of a restructuring plan as the chain grapples with drastic changes in where people spend their shopping dollars.

The retailer that caters to younger shoppers said earlier this month that it was laying off 10% of the staff at its Columbus, Ohio, headquarters and its New York City design studio.

Express Inc. said Wednesday that it can cut its costs by $80 million annually, partially through the store closures, nine of which took place in 2019. It plans to close another 31 stores this year, and 35 more by the end of next year.

It was not immediately clear how that would affect the employees at those stores. Staff in Columbus and New York were provided severance pay and ongoing benefits.

Express operates about 600 stores. Its sales and profit growth have slid over the past three years.

Clothing retailers, particularly those in malls, have been devastated by changing consumer behavior. More than 9,000 stores were shuttered last year.

Shares jumped 20%, to almost $5 in afternoon trading.

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