• Q1 profit up 10.2% to US$21.7m
  • Net sales up 7% to $404.1m
  • Expects to close Tween Brands merger within week

Apparel retailer Dress Barn raised its full-year earnings forecast after posting a 10.2% increase in first quarter profit to US$21.7m.

After adjustments, net earnings were $25m, 34% up on last year's figure and ahead of most analysts' expectations.

Net sales rose 7% to $404.1m, while comparable store sales were up 4%.

The company's Dressbarn stores posted a 6% sales increase, while revenues at Maurices were up 9%.

Dress Barn president and CEO David R Jaffe said the company had made "significant progress" during the quarter.

"While the market conditions remain very challenging, our business is well positioned for the current environment," he added. "Improvements in our merchandise mix and tight inventory controls have helped drive the growth of our Dressbarn and Maurices sales and profitability. In addition, we are looking forward to completing our transaction with Tween Brands, which we believe will provide a new source of long-term growth and value creation for our shareholders."

Dress Barn said it expected the merger with Tween Brands, which was announced in June, to be completed by next Wednesday (25 November).

The company increased its full-year fiscal 2010 earnings per share guidance to $1.20-1.30, based solely on the performance of Dressbarn and Maurices, and on a low single-digit comps increase.

Click here for the retailer's full first quarter earnings release.