Wall Street Journal  Sep 16  Comment 
Ascena Retail Group, which recently closed on its deal to buy Ann Inc., swung to a loss in its July quarter amid a big write-down on its Lane Bryant brand and tumbling sales at its Justice brand.
Forbes  Sep 2  Comment 
An entire New York City F train emblazoned with large photographs of sexy women in lingerie certainly got people's attention.  It also sparked a change in the cultural conversation about women, beauty, and plus-sized bodies -- and just as...
Market Intelligence Center  Aug 4  Comment 
After Monday’s trading in Charming Shoppes Inc (CHRS) the algorithms behind MarketIntelligenceCenter.com's Artifical Intelligence Center picked out a trade that offers a 6.27% or 21.19% (for comparison purposes only), while providing 19.41%...
Market Intelligence Center  Jul 20  Comment 
After Friday’s trading in Charming Shoppes Inc (CHRS) the algorithms behind MarketIntelligenceCenter.com's Artifical Intelligence Center picked out a trade that offers a 11.75% or 34.87% (for comparison purposes only), while providing 14.24%...
Market Intelligence Center  Jul 17  Comment 
Option-trade picking algorithms patented by MarketIntelligenceCenter.com found a trading opportunity with Charming Shoppes Inc (CHRS) that should provide a 10.24% return in just 126 days. Sell one Nov. '15 call at the $35.00 level for each 100...
Wall Street Journal  Jul 10  Comment 
Ascena Retail Group Inc. said it will adjust the book value of its Lane Bryant line somewhere between $275 million and $325 million and cut its financial projections for the year.
Benzinga  Jun 12  Comment 
In a report published Friday, RBC Capital analyst Brian Tunick upgraded the rating on Ascena Retail Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA) from Sector Perform to Outperform, while raising the price target from $16 to $20. The analyst expects the company's EPS...
Forbes  May 18  Comment 
This article is by Sean Muller, CEO, iSpot.tv, a company that tracks real-time paid TV media and related earned digital activity across social, search and video.
guardian.co.uk  May 18  Comment 
Womenswear chain Ascena retail group buys Ann, the parent company of the Ann Taylor and Loft brands Dressbarn is adding to its wardrobe. . Ascena retail group, owner of the womenswear chain, is buying Ann, parent company of the Ann Taylor and...
Reuters  May 18  Comment 
Ascena Retail Group Inc, which runs Lane Bryant and Dressbarn women's clothing stores, is to buy Ann Inc for $2.15 billion, mainly for the popular LOFT brand, which offers everyday...


Charming Shoppes (NASDAQ: CHRS) is the parent company of the Lane Bryant, Lane Bryant Outlet, Fashion Bug and Catherine's Plus Sizes clothing companies, as well Crosstown Traders, a company that markets women's clothing and accessories. All of Charming Shoppes' businesses cater to plus-size women, which means it is in a good position to take advantage of the large American plus-size market - fully 62% of all American women are overweight.[1] The company is attempting to cope with the decrease in consumer spending by cutting costs, partly by eliminating 150 management positions and closing one of its divisions, the Petite Sophisticate Outlet.[2]

Charming Shoppes is also one of many retailers that extends a line of credit to its consumers, which would ordinarily be a disadvantage considering the state of the American economy, in which credit card debt is increasing due to inability to secure home equity loans. The average debt of the Charming Shoppes' consumer, however, is low enough that repayment is more viable than with peer companies; the fact that Charming Shoppes credit cards are restricted to its own stores, as opposed to other retailers who have their own unrestricted lines of credit for its customers, helps keep the average debt of each consumer low.

Company Overview

Business Financials

In 2010 (CHRS's fiscal year ends on January 31 of each year), CHRS posted total revenues of $2.06 billion. This was a significant decline from its 2009 revenues of $2.47 billion. Despite the decrease in revenues, CHRS was still able to cut its net loss in 2010. Between 2009 and 2010, CHRS decreased its net loss from $244 million in 2009 to $78 million.

Business Segments

Charming Shoppes, Inc. is divided into a number of segments:

Lane Bryant

Lane Bryant is a plus-size retailer offering sizes 14-28 under the brand names Lane Bryant, Cacique, and Venezia. Its demographic consists of middle-class women age 35 to 55. In Fiscal Year 2006 Lane Bryant introduced an intimate apparel store, which was placed adjacent to the Lane Bryant clothing store. These stores are operated in this side-by-side format. Lane Bryant sells its apparel through its 795 stores (located in 46 U.S. states) as well as its website, which averaged over 2.4 million unique users per month in fiscal year 2008.

Lane Bryant Outlet

Lane Bryant Outlet is the only national outlet chain that sells plus-size apparel exclusively.

Fashion Bug

This segment offers plus-size and junior's apparel for customers between 20 and 49 years old with low to medium income. Fashion Bug operates 989 stores in 44 states, and its website averaged 900,000 unique visitors per month.

Catherines Plus Sizes

Catherines Plus Sizes offers an extended range of sizes (over size 28) and caters to consumers between 40 and 65 years of age with moderate income. Catherines sells its merchandise through 468 stores located in 44 states, as well as its website, which averaged over 463,000 unique visitors per month.[3]

Petite Sophisticate Outlet

This segment's storefronts are being closed or converted to Outlets for some of Charming Shoppes' other brands starting in late 2009 with completion scheduled for mid-2010. Petite Sophisticate's Website is already shutdown.

Crosstown Traders

This segment was sold by Charming Shoppes to Orchard Brands in a $35million cash purchase which closed in Sept. of 2008. After extending some services to support operations during transition, Charming Shoppes no longer had any dealings with Crosstown Traders or Orchard Brands by early 2010.

Trends and Forces

Plus-Size Market Means Good News for Charming Shoppes

According to Obesity in America, approximately 62% of American women are considered overweight, meaning that they compose a large part of the plus-size market.[4] Charming Shoppes, whose stores (with the exception of Petite Sophisticate) provide clothing to the plus-size demographic, is in a good position to take advantage of this market segment. In addition, obesity is most prevalent in low-income neighborhoods[5], once again a demographic that Charming Shoppes serves. The trend of growing rates of obesity, especially within low income neighborhoods means that the market for Charming Shoppes' goods is expanding.

Charming Shoppes Insulated Against Credit Crisis

With home equity dried up, many consumers have started to rack up increasing amounts of credit card debt. As credit card balances rise, so does the probability of consumers defaulting on them. The increased delinquency rate is bad news not only for credit card companies but for those retailers, such as Lane Bryant, that extend lines of credit to its consumers. Lane Bryant has $600 million in outstanding credit, which is an average of $260 or $270 per customer, and the minimum monthly repayments average $15 to $20 per month.[6] Lane Bryant has an advantage over other retailers that extend lines of credit to its consumers due to the fact that Lane Bryant credit cards are usable only in Lane Bryant stores, whereas other retailers collaborate with Visa or MasterCard, making cards which can be used anywhere. The unrestricted use of these cards leads to larger balances, potentially reaching tens of thousands of dollars.[7] The smaller size of average customer debt on the Lane Bryant credit makes it more likely that debt will be repaid.


Charming Shoppes' faces competition from a number of retailers. These include Redcats, Dress Barn (DBRN), and TJX Companies (TJX).

Redcats is the number 3 home shopping company worldwide in fashion and home decoration. It has over 60 merchant websites, over 30 catalogues, and 600 stores internationally. 91.8% of its revenues come from catalog and internet orders. Redcats operates 37 brands, encompassing men's, women's, and children's apparel, furniture, home appliances, and discount retailers.[8]

Dress Barn sells clothing and accessories to low-to-middle class women. Both the company’s divisions, Dress Barn and Maurices, also offer plus-size apparel. TJX Companies is the parent company of some of the largest discount retailers in the world, such as T.J. Maxx, Marshall's, and A.J. Wright.


  1. Obesity in America-Obesity Demographics.
  2. Charming Shoppes F4Q08 (Quarter End 02/03/08) Earnings Call Transcript. Seeking Alpha.
  3. CHRS 2007 10-K. Item 1, Page 2.
  4. Obesity in America-Obesity Demographics.
  5. "Obesity disproportionately burdens low-income, ethnic minority populations." December 2, 2004. News-Medical.Net
  6. Charming Shoppes F4Q08 (Quarter End 02/03/08) Earnings Call Transcript. Seeking Alpha.
  7. Charming Shoppes F4Q08 (Quarter End 02/03/08) Earnings Call Transcript. Seeking Alpha.
  8. Redcats-Brands.
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