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Published
Jun 5, 2018
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Ascena comps decline 3% as Dressbarn lags behind

Published
Jun 5, 2018

The value segment once again held back Mahwah, New Jersey-based womenswear retailer Ascena Retail Group, Inc.’s performance with falling comparative sales in Q3 2018, as the company continues to implement cost-cutting and optimization measures.


Dressbarn's comparable sales dropped 14% in Q3 2018 - Instagram: @dressbarn

 
As reported on Monday, the company’s net sales for the third quarter ended April 28, 2018 were $1,503.3 million, compared to $1,565.1 million in the prior year period, a decline driven primarily by a 3% drop in comparable sales.
 
Having dragged down the company’s holiday performance with a 13% fall in comps last year, value brand Dressbarn proved to be a problem again, posting a comps decline of 14%, the largest among the retailer’s brands.

At the other end of the spectrum, the company’s tween girl-targeted Justice store was a bright spot among the falling sales, seeing a comparable sales rise of 10% during the period.
 
Nonetheless, the company managed to narrow its operating loss in the quarter to $23 million, compared to $1,311.8 million in Q3 2017, largely due to the fact that the prior year period was negatively impacted by significant non-cash impairments of goodwill and other intangible assets.
 
Ascena therefore reported a net loss of $40 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2018, compared to a net loss of $1,030.7 million in the same period in the previous year.
 
Commenting on the results in a release, Ascena CEO David Jaffe said, “our transformation program delivered significant expense reductions, and we were pleased to see improved comp sales performance exiting the third quarter. This momentum has continued into our fourth quarter with quarter-to-date comp sales up mid-single digits.”
 
“Looking forward, we will continue to drive our enterprise transformation to realize the full value of our brand portfolio, and we are working to quickly stabilize performance at our value segment,” he added, alluding in particular to improvements to be made at Dressbarn.
 
As part of its fleet optimization program, Ascena closed 27 stores across its different banners in Q3 and has shut a total of 261 since January 2017. The retailer expects to end fiscal 2018 with a store count of between 4,600 and 4,650.
 
Moving into Q4 2018, the company expects net sales for the quarter to be between $1.62 and $1.66 billion, while operating income is now estimated to total from $22 to $42 million.

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