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