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Consumer environment to remain challenging, Dress Barn
17
Sep '09
Dress Barn Inc reported sales and earnings results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended July 25, 2009.

Fiscal Fourth Quarter Results
Net sales for the fiscal fourth quarter ended July 25, 2009 increased 4% to $398.9 million from $382.3 million for the fiscal fourth quarter ended July 26, 2008. Comparable store sales for the quarter increased 1%.

By division, net sales for dressbarn stores increased 6% to $253.7 million compared to $238.5 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, driven primarily by a comparable store sales increase of 4% for the quarter. Net sales for maurices stores increased 1% to $145.2 million compared to $143.8 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. The increase was driven by new stores offset by a comparable store sales decrease of 5% for the quarter.

Net earnings for the fiscal fourth quarter were $26.4 million, or $0.41 per diluted share. During the quarter the Company incurred certain unusual items that are not indicative of on-going operations. Accordingly, a GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliation of these items is provided later in this release for a more valid comparison to the prior year. Net earnings on this non-GAAP basis were $25.2 million, or $0.39 per diluted share. This compares to net earnings of $22.1 million, or $0.34 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008.

2009 Fiscal Year Results
Net sales for the fiscal year ended July 25, 2009 increased 3% to $1.494 billion from $1.444 billion for the fiscal year ended July 26, 2008. Comparable store sales for the year were flat.

By division, net sales for dressbarn stores increased 2% to $906.2 million compared to $887.6 million for fiscal 2008; comparable store sales for the fiscal year were flat. Net sales for maurices increased 6% to $588.0 million, compared to $556.6 million for fiscal 2008; comparable store sales for the year decreased 1%.

Net earnings for fiscal 2009 were $69.7 million, or $1.11 per diluted share. Net earnings on the non-GAAP basis described later in this release were $68.5 million or $1.09 per diluted share. This compares to net earnings of $74.1 million, or $1.15 per diluted share for fiscal 2008.

Commentary
David R. Jaffe, President and Chief Executive Officer commented, “We are pleased with our performance in a challenging environment due largely to effective merchandising that has communicated an appealing combination of fashion and value to consumers. At the same time, we have continued to carefully control costs and inventory levels and remain focused on generating cash.”

Mr. Jaffe continued, “This year, we generated $115 million of free cash flow. Our long-held belief continues to be that a highly liquid balance sheet positions us well to continue to grow our business.

We are awaiting completion of our previously announced merger with Tween Brands, whose dominant position in the tween specialty retailing market can further extend our demographic reach and create significant value for our shareholders.”

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