• Q4 sales up 4% to US$398.9m
  • Q4 underlying profit up 14% to $25.2m
  • Tween Brands deal should close by end of year


Cut-price apparel retailer Dress Barn posted a 14% increase in underlying fourth quarter profits to US$25.2m, thanks to a 4% sales increase to $398.9m.

However, underlying profits for the full year fell 7.6% to $69.7m, with sales up 3% to $1.494bn.

Full-year comparable store sales across the company were flat. For the fourth quarter, company comparable store sales were up 1%.

Dressbarn sales increased 6% to $253.7m, with comps up 4%, while Maurices sales edged up 1% to $145.2m, with comps down 5%.

Dress Barn president and CEO David R Jaffe said he was pleased with the results, and drew attention to the importance of controlling costs and inventory levels.

"We are awaiting completion of our previously announced merger with Tween Brands, whose dominant position in the tween speciality retailing market can further extend our demographic reach and create significant value for our shareholders," Jaffe added.

The $157m stock-swap deal to acquire Tween Brands, which was announced in July, is continuing to progress and should complete before the end of the year, Dress Barn said.

The company anticipates fiscal 2010 earnings per share of $1.10-1.20, based on the performance of Dressbarn and Maurices, but not Tween Brands.