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Dress Barn generates solid first quarter results
20
Nov '08
Dress Barn Inc reported sales and earnings results for its fiscal first quarter ended October 25, 2008.

Net sales for the fiscal first quarter ended October 25, 2008 increased 3% to $376.4 million, compared to net sales of $363.7 million for the fiscal first quarter ended October 27, 2007. Comparable store sales for the quarter decreased 1%.

By division, net sales at dressbarn stores increased 2% to $232.8 million compared to net sales of $228.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Comparable store sales for the quarter were flat to last year. Net sales at maurices stores increased 6% to $143.6 million compared to net sales of $135.5 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Comparable store sales for the quarter decreased 3%.

Net earnings for the fiscal first quarter increased 4% to $20.5 million, or $0.32 per diluted share. This compares to net earnings of $19.6 million, or $0.30 per diluted share, for the comparable period of fiscal 2008.

Commentary
David R. Jaffe, President and Chief Executive Officer stated, "We are pleased to have generated solid first quarter results that exceeded our expectations. In view of the current condition of the consumer market, we have carefully adjusted our inventory levels and promotional strategy. We have also moderated our outlook for the remainder of our fiscal year given the difficult and highly promotional retail environment."

Mr. Jaffe continued, "We believe our brands have a significant advantage in this retail climate as both benefit from a strong value message."

Mr. Jaffe concluded, "We will maintain our focus on preserving our strong and liquid balance sheet, which ended the quarter with approximately $300 million in cash and marketable securities, while continuing to tightly control our inventories and costs.

Revised Fiscal July 2009 Guidance
Given the current weakness in consumer spending that may well persist for the remainder of our fiscal year ending July 25, 2009; the Company revised its guidance for earnings per diluted share to the range of $0.90 to $1.00 from its previous guidance of $1.23 to $1.28. This revised earnings per share estimate is based upon various assumptions, including approximately 64.5 million fully diluted shares outstanding and a comparable store sales decrease in the mid-single digit range for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Dress Barn Inc

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