Careful control of inventory and expenses helped Dress Barn Inc to a 7.8% rise in third quarter profit and led the apparel retailer to reaffirm its full-year guidance.

For the three months to 26 April, net earnings rose to $24.9m, or $0.39 per share, from $23.1m, or $0.33 per share, in the prior year period.

Net sales were up 1% to $352.6m, with the positive impact of new stores partially offset by a comparable store sales decline of 3%.

Dressbarn sales fell 5%, including a 6% decline in comparable store sales, while Maurices store sales were up 14%, including a same-store sales increase of 4%.

David R Jaffe, president and chief executive officer said: "We were pleased to have navigated a difficult retail environment during the third quarter.

"While the sales results from our Dressbarn stores reflect the continued slowdown in consumer spending, we controlled our inventory and saw strong merchandise margins."

Despite concerns about a "further deterioration of the tough retail environment" and "an increase in the promotional competitive landscape," the company reaffirmed its full-year guidance.

It expects to see earnings per share in the range of $1.05 to $1.10 on a mid-single digit decrease in comparable store sales for the remainder of the year.