NEW YORK — The Dress Barn Inc., a value-priced women’s specialty chain, said its October same-store sales fell 3 percent, as the warm weather in the beginning of the month hurt sweater sales.

The Suffern, N.Y.-based 779-unit company, which offers career and casual clothing, also said same-store sales retreated 2 percent in its first quarter, while total sales for the three months ended Oct. 27 increased 2 percent to $185.9 million, compared with $182.1 million in the same period last year.

"Cool weather came in the back half of October and that’s when people started thinking about buying their fall wardrobes," David Jaffe, president and chief executive, said. "Since then, the business has turned positive, particularly sweaters, which have shown a turnaround from last year." Other strong performers are its dressy and coordinated sportswear looks, Jaffe said.

Although concerned about consumers’ shopping habits and the tenor of business going into the holiday selling season, Jaffe said he hopes to maintain the positive momentum from the end of last month.

"Our looks are more updated and have more of a contemporary feeling than last year," Jaffe responded when asked why he expects improvement over last year.

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