Dressbarn to Close All Stores

Dressbarn, a chain of discount specialty stores, is planning to close its entire fleet of 650 stores across the United States. More than 40 of those stores are in California.

The announcement was made May 20 by parent company Ascena Retail Group Inc., based in Mahwah, N.J.

Ascena did not state exactly when the 56-year-old chain of stores selling items for under $50 would close. But it did say it wanted to concentrate on its other retail stores and brands, which include Lane Bryant, Catherines, Ann Taylor, Loft and Lou & Grey.

The Dressbarn announcement was made a couple of months after Ascena sold Maurices Inc., a value-apparel specialty-store chain headquartered in Duluth, Minn. An affiliate of private-equity firm OpCapita LLP acquired Maurices for $300 million.

Also, Ascena’s top executives have changed, which was made public in a May 1 announcement. David Jaffe, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, retired, and Gary Muto, the president and chief executive of the Ascena Brands division, was named the company’s CEO.

For Ascena’s second quarterly earnings ending Feb. 2, 2019, net sales were $1.69 billion compared to $1.72 billion in the same period last year. The company had a net loss of $72 million for the second quarter compared to a net loss of $39 million for the same period in 2018.

During the second quarter, Dressbarn saw its same-store sales decline 1 percent to $163.6 million compared to $176.7 million in the second quarter of 2018.

By comparison, Ann Taylor saw its same-store sales rise 10 percent to $202.4 million for the quarter, and Loft also saw its same-store sales in the second quarter increase 10 percent to $436.5 million.