CNNMoney.com  Jun 10  Comment 
Get ready for more "closing sale" signs in the windows of your local retailers.
Forbes  Mar 4  Comment 
Fashion is changing in more way than one. Primarily, it has become more democratic, more inclusive, and much less stuffy. Could this be a result of the Internet and social media platforms giving unfettered access to anyone with a connection,...
MarketWatch  Oct 24  Comment 
To refresh its image and improve performance, Ascena Retail’s Dressbarn chain launches a high-fashion ad campaign.
Forbes  Oct 6  Comment 
Fashion often comes with a litany of rules, where certain dates, seasons, and social settings mandate a preferred way of dressing. That said, shopping doesn’t have to be a guessing game. The key is finding styles that flatter your figure—but...
MarketWatch  Jul 10  Comment 
Ascena Retail Group Inc.'s stock dropped 6% in after-hours trade Friday, after the apparel retailer cut its full fiscal year profit outlook, citing lower-than-expected sales at its Justice and dressbarn branded stores. The company now expects...
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...
DailyFinance  Aug 30  Comment 
Specialty Fashion Retailer Celebrates Grand Opening and Your Chance to Win a $250 Shopping SpreeFORT COLLINS, CO -- (Marketwired) -- 08/30/14 -- dressbarn (NASDAQ: ASNA) announces the grand opening of its newest location in Fort Collins, bringing...
DailyFinance  Aug 29  Comment 
Specialty Fashion Retailer Celebrates Grand Opening and Your Chance to Win a $250 Shopping SpreeCORPUS CHRISTI, TX -- (Marketwired) -- 08/29/14 -- dressbarn (NASDAQ: ASNA) announces the grand opening of its newest location in Corpus Christi,...
CNNMoney.com  Apr 24  Comment 
Concerns over safety conditions in garment factories sourced by U.S. retailers were revived Wednesday when a factory collapsed in Bangladesh, killing at least 199 people and injuring hundreds.


Dress Barn (NASDAQ: DBRN) sells clothing to women between the ages of 17 to 55. The company operates under two names called Dressbarn and Maurice. Dressbarn Women is the company's plus-size division for larger women. The company operates a total of 1,559 stores, most of which are located in strip shopping centers. In 2009, Dress Barn earned $$1.49 billion in sales and $70 million in net income.[1]

As a middle-class retailer, Dress Barn has suffered the sluggish economy; consumers are spending less and are more sensitive to prices. In response, Dress Barn has been cutting prices, which has helped maintain share but has led to lower profit margins. Although neither Dress Barn nor Maurices have stores outside the United States, developments in other countries still affect them. For example, manufacturing costs in China have also risen. This increase means higher costs for the company's goods, and thinner margins. Dress Barn has responded by establishing contracts with manufacturers in regions such as Africa and the Middle East, decreasing the influence Chinese manufacturing costs have on its bottom line.

Company Overview


Dress Barn is divided into three main parts: Dress Barn, Dress Barn Woman, and Maurices.

  • Dress Barn (60.6% of net sales) sells clothing to women 35 and above of age sizes 4 to 24. The company produces its own apparel and its stores are located mainly in strip malls or near suburban areas. The company has ended its menswear and children's wear divisions this past year and instead decided to focus exclusively on its core demographic. Dress Barn Woman is the plus-size division of Dress Barn. Dress Barn also has a petite division, which sells smaller sizes of its merchandise. The company operates 684 Dressbarn Combo stores (a combination of Dressbarn and Dressbarn Women), 120 Dressbarn stores, and 34 Dressbarn Women stores.
  • Maurices (39.4% of net sales) produces and sells clothing to a much younger consumer-17 to 34 year old women-under two labels: Maurices and Studio Y. Maurices provides casual and work clothing and accessories (such as jeans, pants, tops and handbags), while Studio Y offers more formal apparel such as dresses. Maurices stores are usually located in small markets with populations between 25,000 and 100,000. The company operates 721 Maurice stores.

Business Growth

FY 2009 (ended July 25, 2009)[1]

  • Net sales increased by 3.5% to $1.49 billion. The company benefited from price increases. Comparable store sales at Dressbarn increased 0.1% while decreasing 1.3% at Maruice stores. Total comparable store sales fell 0.4%.
  • Net income fell 5.9% to $69.7 million. The company was negatively affected by a 3.6% increase in cost of sales and a 6.3% increase in SG&A expenses.

Trends and Forces

Attempts to Encourage Spending Drives Prices Even Lower

Consumer confidence has decreased in the sluggish economy, and Dress Barn is one of many retail companies that have been affected -- comparable store sales fell 0.4% in 2009. In an attempt to reverse this trend and sell more products, Dress Barn has made numerous discounts on its products in order to prevent inventory from staying on the shelves for months. However, these discounts also decrease its net income. Although net sales grew 3.5% in 2009, net income fell 5.9%.[1]

Rising Manufacturing Prices Eats into Dress Barn's Revenues

Dress Barn, like many other apparel retailers, sources its goods from Asian factories. Manufacturing prices in China are increasing due to rising energy and raw materials costs. This means Dress Barn will have to pay more for goods manufactured in China. Dress Barn has taken some preemptive action and has established contracts with factories in other countries (such as Africa and the Middle East) and decreased the number of contracts it holds with manufacturers in China.


Dress Barn revenue is slightly above that of J.C. Penney and much lower than those of Kohl's and Sears. Kohl's and Sears sell many more products than just women's clothing, explaining the higher revenues. Of these four companies, Dress Barn is the only one that does not sell merchandise online--it has websites for Maurices and Dress Barn, but they are used mainly to disseminate information about their products.

J.C. Penney is a department store chain that sells women's, men's and children's apparel, along with home decorations and electronics.

Kohl's is a mid-tier priced department store selling apparel and home furnishings to moderate-income families through its stores as well as its website.

Sears Holdings is the fourth largest retailer in the United States, operating 3,921 stores under the names Sears and Kmart.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 DBRN 2009 10-K "Consolidated Statements of Operations" pg. F-4
  2. DBRN 2009 10-K "Segments" pg. F-31
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