Ascena Retail Group has announced that it is closing all its Dressbarn stores so as to focus on its more profitable brands. “For more than 50 years, Dressbarn has served women’s fashion needs, and we thank all of our dedicated associates for their commitment to Dressbarn and our valued customers,” said Steven Taylor, CFO, Dressbarn, in a press release.
Ascena, which also owns other apparel chains including Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant, said that the decision wasn’t an easy one.
Steven added “Dressbarn chain has not been operating at an acceptable level of profitability in today’s retail environment.”
Although the retailer has mentioned that customers will be able to continue to shop from Dressbarn stores and online, as the closures won’t take place immediately, it hasn’t outlined an exact timeline for the winding-down process of the business.
The retailer also said that its vendors and suppliers will continue to be paid on “normal terms,” and that employees will be updated as decisions are made about when specific locations will close. The women’s clothing chain employs over 6,800 people.
This year, the announcement comes amidst a wave of store closures across the country. So far, more than 7,000 closures have been announced in 2019 by companies ranging from Payless ShoeSource and Gymboree to Charlotte Russe, Victoria’s Secret and Gap. 2019 has been a tough year for retailers with more store closings announced than in all of 2018.
Dressbarn, with a presence of more than five decades, has been struggling to grow in apparel retailing as more women steer towards fast-fashion retailers such as H&M and Zara, off-price chains such as TJ Maxx and Ross Stores, and even Target. Amazon also continues to take a larger share of the apparel market online.