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Dress Barn Comparable store sales decline
18
Sep '08
Dress Barn Inc reported sales and earnings results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended July 26, 2008.

Fiscal Fourth Quarter Results:
Net sales for the fiscal fourth quarter ended July 26, 2008 were $382.3 million, compared with net sales of $379.9 million for the fiscal fourth quarter ended July 28, 2007. Comparable store sales for the quarter declined 2% versus the prior year's increase of 5%.

By division, net sales at dressbarn stores were $238.5 million compared with net sales of $251.0 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007. Comparable store sales for the quarter declined 5%, compared to the prior year's 1% increase. Net sales at maurices stores were $143.8 million compared with net sales of $128.9 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007. Comparable store sales for the quarter increased 4% on top of the prior year's 13% increase.

Net earnings for the fiscal fourth quarter were $22.1 million, or $0.34 per diluted share. This compares to record net earnings of $33.6 million, or $0.48 per diluted share for the comparable period of fiscal 2007.

2008 Fiscal Year Results:
Net sales for the fiscal year ended July 26, 2008 were $1.444 billion, compared with net sales of $1.427 billion for the fiscal year ended July 28, 2007. Comparable store sales declined 3% versus the prior year's increase of 5%.

By division, net sales at dressbarn stores were $887.6 million compared with net sales of $934.8 million for fiscal 2007. Comparable store sales declined 7% versus the prior year's increase of 4%. Net sales at maurices stores were $556.6 million compared with net sales of $491.8 million for fiscal 2007. Comparable store sales increased 4% on top of last year's increase of 7%.

Net earnings for fiscal 2008 were $74.1 million, or $1.15 per diluted share. This compares to record net earnings of $101.2 million, or $1.45 per diluted share for fiscal 2007.

Commentary:
David R. Jaffe, President and Chief Executive Officer stated, "Our full year results certainly show the impact of what has been a very challenging retail environment. While we have not been able to avoid the pressures of the marketplace, we have managed the business prudently and made a number of improvements to our operations and created a leaner, more responsive business model.

At the store level, we have successfully implemented significant inventory controls to reduce our exposure to markdowns. We have also been vigilant with regard to expenses, investing only in those areas where we see a clear return on investment."

Mr. Jaffe continued, "Our dressbarn stores business has shown recent improvement due to improved execution, trend-right merchandise assortment, and effective marketing programs that reinforce our value message to consumers. With our most difficult comparisons behind us, we believe that our Company can perform well even in view of our expectation fora continued challenging environment.

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