Dress Barn Inc, the women's apparel chain that operates nearly 750 stores in 43 states, is set to open 50 new stores in the fiscal year ending 27 July 2002. The company also wants to convert ten of its outlets into its combination Dress Barn/Dress Barn Woman store format, and update or remodel about 100 of its store locations.

The plans were revealed in a Form 10-K filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company said it expects its total square footage to increase 7 per cent for the current fiscal year.

Last week Dress Barn said total sales for the month ended 29 September decreased 6 per cent to $70.1 million, compared to $75.0m reported for the same five-week fiscal period last year.

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