New York -- Plus-sized retailer Ashley Stewart has filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As part of its restructuring plan, the company announced it will immediately close 27 underperforming locations. Ashley Stewart currently operates some 168 stores. The company previously filed Chapter 11 in 2010.
In a separate statement, the company said potential buyers have expressed interest in buying the chain.
"We are encouraged to see that several entities from both the financial and apparel industries have expressed interest in Ashley Stewart," said Michael Abate, senior VP of finance. "The plus-sized market is poised for increased growth and the Ashley Stewart shopper is in the prized 25-55 age demographic, when women are at the height of their earning power."
According to the company's statement, Ashley Stewart has a decline in sales and profitability in 2013 due to a number of factors that have been corrected.