Leading specialty retailer of chilren#;s apparel and shoes, Deb Shops Inc, said today comparable apparel store sales increased 8.9 per cent for the month ended March 31, 2002.

In a statement, the Philadelphia-based company said total apparel sales for the month increased 18.8 per cent to $27.8 million from $23.4m in the year-ago period.

Deb Shops Inc currently operates 316 specialty apparel stores in 38 states under the Deb, Deb Plus and Tops 'N Bottoms brands.