Although all Dressbarn stores will be shuttered by year-end, the web site will continue to operate.
The parent company of Dressbarn, the Ascena Retail Group, recently sold the intellectual property assets of Dressbarn and has begun the process of transitioning its e-commerce business to a subsidiary of Retail E-commerce Ventures LLC.
“With 57 years of history, fashion and stories to celebrate, we are thrilled to announce that dressbarn.com is here to stay. That’s right. We aren’t going anywhere,” Tai Lopez and Alex Mehr, co-owners of Retail E-commerce Ventures, wrote Thursday in a joint e-mail to customers.
A new Dressbarn web site is being launched in January 2020. “You’ll find that shopping your favorites will be easier and more convenient than ever before along with top-notch customer service and style at the touch of your fingers,” the executives wrote.
Last week, Dressbarn’s parent company, the Ascena Retail Group, said the wind-down of the Dressbarn store chain was on track with the liquidation expected to be completed this month. At the end of its fiscal first quarter, which ended Nov. 2, there were 544 Dressbarn stores left.
Ascena is also the parent company of Loft, Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, Cacique, Justice and Lou & Grey.
Ascena has shown some progress in its turnaround and could initiate further restructurings within the portfolio.
The company, which has a total of 3,445 stores, reported net income from continuing operations of $32 million, or 16 cents per diluted share, in its fiscal first quarter ended Nov. 2. That compared with a net loss of $24 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago period.
Comparable sales were flat. Excluding the operations of Dressbarn, comparable sales were negative 2 percent. Net sales for the first quarter were $1.3 million compared to $1.34 million in the year-ago period.
“We were pleased to have exceeded our adjusted operating income expectations for the first quarter through better-than-expected improvement in operating expenses,” said chief executive officer Gary Muto. “We continue to make advances on right-sizing our cost structure, while focusing on driving sustainable growth and improved operating margin for each of our segments. In addition, we once again ended the quarter in a strong cash and liquidity position with no borrowings under our credit facility as we remain disciplined in managing working capital and rationalizing our capital expenditures.”
Aside from liquidating the Dressbarn stores, turnaround initiatives include a “tightened test and react approach to more quickly respond to shoppers” as well as growing customer files, prospecting new customers and advancing personalization.
Ann Taylor is pumping up pants offerings and adding more day-into-evening choices for holiday. Loft styles are becoming more playful and festive, and at Lane Bryant, tops are being reengineered for a good, better, best price structure.