NEW YORK — Dress Barn is hoping its 2-for-1 stock split brings more investors into the fold.

This story first appeared in the June 4, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

On Monday, the first day of trading after Friday’s split, shares of the firm fell 52 cents, or 3.3 percent, to close at $15.30 in Nasdaq action as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 215.53 points, or 2.2 percent, to close at 9,709.72. The Nasdaq landed at 1,562.19 after a 53.54 point, 3.3 percent, sell-off.

The Suffern, N.Y.-based specialty retailer, which operates 759 doors across 43 states, ended the day with a market capitalization of $277.7 million.

Adjusting for the split — which cut the price of the stock in half, but doubled the number of shares outstanding — Dress Barn’s stock has traded as low as $9.64 and as high as $17.11 over the last 12 months.

As of the end of the third quarter on April 27, about 19,000 diluted shares of Dress Barn were outstanding.

The firm’s board approved the split at a May 2 meeting, as reported. Chairman Elliot Jaffe noted, in a statement at the time: “This is our company’s fourth split since our 1983 initial public offering and is intended to make Dress Barn’s shares more accessible, increase our shareholder base and market liquidity.”

During the third quarter, a 3 percent comparable-store sales uptick and administrative cost reductions drove the firm’s earnings up 54.8 percent to $9.5 million, or 51 cents a diluted share. Overall, sales advanced 7.3 percent to $177.1 million.

For the first three quarters of its fiscal year, though, profits slid 9.4 percent to $24.5 million, or $1.31 a share, while sales inched up 2.5 percent to $530.4 million.

In May, the Dress Barn’s comps decreased 4 percent, while total sales trended down 0.3 percent to $67.1 million.”

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