Dress Barn 1Q profit rises 10 pct on higher sales

AP News
Posted: Nov 19, 2009 5:38 PM

Women's clothing retailer Dress Barn Inc. said its profit rose 10 percent in the fiscal first quarter on higher sales and issued an improved outlook for the full year.

The company, based in Suffern, N.Y., raised its 2010 profit guidance to a range of $1.20 to $1.30 per share, above the $1.20 per share consensus estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

The retailer earned $21.7 million, or 33 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Oct. 24. That is up from the $19.7 million, or 30 cents per share, it earned a year earlier.

Adjusted profit of 38 cents beat a 33 cent per share analyst estimate. The adjusted profit excluded one-time charges for a writedown in the value of a brand, deferred compensation and merger costs.

Dress Barn's revenue rose 7 percent to $404.1 million from $376.4 million in the latest quarter, also topping Wall Street's $391 million average estimate.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose 4 percent. Sales at stores open at least a year are a key measure of retailer performance because they measure growth at existing stores rather than from newly opened ones.

The company plans to buy Tween Brands Inc., with the deal to close Nov. 25 pending approval by Tween Brands shareholders in a vote scheduled for that day. Dress Barn agreed in June to purchase the operator of Justice stores in a transaction that includes the exchange of one share of Tween Brands for 0.47 shares of Dress Barn.

In addition to its namesake stores, Dress Barn also owns the chain of Maurices stores.

Its shares fell 58 cents to close at $20.52 on Thursday, but jumped $1, or nearly 5 percent, to $21.21 in aftermarket trading on the report.