Ashley Stewart Finds a New Backer in Ram Ajjarapu

It looks like Ashley Stewart Inc. is getting a new owner.

Ram Ajjarapu’s company Kinbow signed a letter of intent to purchase a majority stake in the business from ASI Holdco. The deal is expected to close later this month, although it remains subject to the negotiation of a definitive agreement.

More from WWD

Kimbow plans to continue to operate all of the brand’s 75 stores and its e-commerce business in their current form.

Ajjarapu, who is executive director of Kinbow, said in a statement: “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with this iconic retailer. As an accomplished apparel and accessories manufacturer with proven experience in developing quality affordable fashion, we expect to continue the heritage of the Ashley Stewart brand and look for opportunities to expand the on-trend fashion offerings that the company’s loyal customers have come to expect.”

Kinbow is an affiliate of RA Capital, which is owned by Ajjarapu and invests in technology, insurance, financial services, renewable energy and retail.

Ashley Stewart, which was founded in 1991, started looking for strategic alternatives and for ways to improve its capital structure last month, a process that led to the deal with Kimbow.

The brand focuses on fashion for women in sizes 10 to 36 and, while the brand has also kept a relatively low profile, it has been in steady presence in the market and with some buzzy collections.

In 2019, Kylie and Kendall Jenner designed a collection for the brand that included tops, bottoms, dresses, jumpsuits, jackets and accessories with prices starting at $53.

Best of WWD