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'Spring season to be challenging' - Dress Barn CEO
19
Feb '09
Dress Barn Inc reported sales and earnings results for its fiscal second quarter ended January 24, 2009.

Fiscal Second Quarter Results:
Net sales for the fiscal second quarter ended January 24, 2009 were $343.2 million, a decrease of 1% from $345.6 million for the fiscal second quarter ended January 26, 2008. Comparable store sales for the quarter decreased 4%.

By division, net sales for dressbarn stores decreased 4% to $196.5 million compared to net sales of $204.1 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2008. Comparable store sales decreased 6% for the quarter. Net sales for maurices stores increased 4% to $146.7 million, compared to net sales of $141.5 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2008. Comparable sales decreased 2% for the quarter.

The Company had a net loss for the fiscal second quarter of $1.1 million, or $0.02 per diluted share. This compares to net earnings of $7.4 million, or $0.12 per diluted share for the second quarter of fiscal 2008.

Fiscal Six Months Results:
Net sales for the first six months of fiscal 2009 were $719.6 million, an increase of 1% over $709.3 million for the first six months of fiscal 2008. Comparable store sales for the six month period decreased 3%.

By division, net sales for dressbarn stores decreased 1% to $429.4 million, compared to $432.2 million for the first six months of fiscal 2008. dressbarn comparable store sales for the six month period decreased 3%. Net sales for maurices increased 5% to $290.2 million, compared to $277.1 million for the first six months of fiscal 2008. maurices comparable store sales for the six month period decreased 2%.

Net earnings for the first six months of fiscal 2009 decreased to $19.4 million from $27.0 million for the first six months of fiscal 2008. Earnings per diluted share were $0.31 versus $0.42 per diluted share for the first six months of fiscal 2008.

Commentary:
David R. Jaffe, President and Chief Executive Officer commented, “During this challenging Holiday season, we believe that our strategy of using aggressive promotions helped to both drive customer traffic and clear out seasonal inventory. While this negatively impacted our merchandise margins, we are pleased with our transition into Spring and to note that our level of clearance inventory is now well below last year. Our merchandise assortments are clean and fresh, emphasizing our core strategy of delivering current fashion and value to our customers.

We have implemented a number of strategic initiatives to drive traffic, control costs and maximize the return on our capital expenditures. Our balance sheet remains strong with over $300 million in cash and marketable securities. We continue to aggressively manage our inventories in light of current sales trends and although we expect the Spring season to be challenging, we believe we are well positioned in this current economic environment to take market share.”

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