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Women’s Apparel Chain Dressbarn to Close All 650 Stores

Dressbarn's stores are mostly located in strip retail centers, but the brand does have a few downtown/street-level stores in the Northeast and in Houston. (Photo courtesy of A&G Realty Partners)

MAHWAH, N.J. — Dressbarn, a women’s apparel retailer, plans to eventually close all 650 of its stores nationwide. The New Jersey-based company is winding down its retail operations and plans to assist its 6,800 associates with transition support as individual stores close.

“For more than 50 years, Dressbarn has served women’s fashion needs, and we thank all of our dedicated associates for their commitment to Dressbarn and our valued customers,” says Steven Taylor, Dressbarn’s chief financial officer. “This decision was difficult, but necessary, as the Dressbarn chain has not been operating at an acceptable level of profitability in today’s retail environment.”

No information was made available about how the store closures will affect Dressbarn’s lease agreements in place with landlords, but the company has retained A&G Realty Partners to assist on all real estate-related matters during the wind down process.

A&G Realty Partners is actively marketing Dressbarn’s available locations to interested tenants. According to A&G Realty’s marketing materials, Dressbarn’s available stores range in size from a 3,300-square-foot store in Michigan to a 15,000-square-foot location in Virginia Beach.

Approximately 165 Dressbarn stores have leases that expire in 2020. In 2021, an additional 111 Dressbarn leases are expected to come due. The store with the longest remaining lease is a Massachusetts location that has a term set to expire in December 2027.

The vast majority of Dressbarn locations are located in strip retail centers. The rest are situated in malls, shopping centers and outlet malls. There are also a number of freestanding locations, as well as a few downtown/street-level stores in the Northeast and in Houston.

Dressbarn has a number of stores situated in malls. (Photo courtesy of A&G Realty Partners)

Dressbarn has appointed Troy Taylor, president of financial advisory and investment banking firm Algon Group, to its board of directors as an independent director. Algon Group is self-described as a firm that consults clients dealing with “complex, challenging and/or financially distressed situations.”

All Dressbarn stores are open and conducting business as usual, as is the brand’s online store. Customers can also continue to use Dressbarn-branded credit cards for purchases, and the company has made no changes to its return, refund or gift card policies.

Plans for closing individual Dressbarn locations, including information about store closing sales, will be shared in the coming months. Dressbarn shared that it intends to continue paying its vendors and suppliers in full “in the ordinary course for products and services provided.”

Dressbarn’s parent company is Ascena Retail Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA), which also owns female apparel chains such as Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lou & Grey, Justice, Lane Bryant, maurices and Catherines. Dressbarn founded Ascena in January 2011 in order to reflect the company’s other holdings.

Roslyn Jaffe and her husband Elliot Jaffe founded Dressbarn and opened the first store in Stamford, Conn., in 1962.

Ascena Retail Group’s stock price closed on Monday, May 20 at $1.19 per share, down from $3.14 a year ago.

— John Nelson

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