SPEEDO SIGNS COUGHLIN: Speedo has signed a multiyear endorsement deal with American swimmer and Olympic hopeful Natalie Coughlin. The 21-year-old, who trains in Berkeley, Calif., will compete at the U.S. Olympic team trials for swimming in Long Beach, Calif. in July.
SUCCESS FOR DRESS: Dress Barn Inc. on Thursday reported a 6 percent increase in April comparable-store sales. The Suffern, N.Y.-based specialty retailer added that net sales for the four weeks ended April 24 advanced 9.8 percent to $73 million from $66.5 million a year ago. Those results helped fuel a 10.6 percent advance in third-quarter net sales to $183.3 million from $165.7 million last year, and a quarterly comp increase of 7 percent, the company said. The majority of retailers will report April same-store sales next Thursday.
OUTSTANDING MOMS: The National Mother’s Day committee presented their 26th annual Outstanding Mother awards at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square Thursday. Liz Claiborne Inc. and Syms Corp. sponsored the awards and the event was hosted by Karen Murray, group president of men’s wear at Claiborne. WNBC-TV’s Jane Hanson presented awards to Marcy Sym, chief executive officer of Syms; actress Doris Roberts; former tennis champion Chris Evert; BET co-founder Sheila C. Johnson, and Barbara Corcoran, chief executive officer of The Corcoran Group.
ANN TAYLOR SPLITTING STOCK: The board of directors at Ann Taylor Stores Corp. gave the nod on a 3-for-2 stock split Thursday, after the market closed. The company plans on making the split “on or about May 26, 2004 to stockholders of record at the close of business on May 11, 2004,” the retailer said in a statement, adding that the split will end up increasing the amount of outstanding common stock by 50 percent, “with cash being paid in lieu of fractional shares.” Shares of the retailer ended the day down 2.63 percent to $40.36.