May 20, 2019 / 9:17 PM / 4 months ago

Ascena to wind down Dressbarn business, shut 650 stores

(Reuters) - Ascena Retail Group Inc said on Monday it would wind down its women’s budget clothing chain, Dressbarn, shutting about 650 stores in the United States, as it sharpens its focus on profitable brands.

Ascena’s shares, which have more than halved this year, were up about 3 percent in extended trading.

The company, which also houses fashion brands Ann Taylor and Lou & Grey, said the move would strengthen its overall financial performance.

“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,” Dressbarn Chief Financial Officer Steven Taylor said.

Dressbarn, a household name for over 50 years, has struggled to grow sales in a competitive market where it battles with online retailers like Amazon.com Inc and off-price retailers like TJX Cos Inc.

(The story corrects brand name in paragraph three.)

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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