Ascena Sets Forward with Lane Bryant Expansion

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Going ahead with its store expansion plans, Lane Bryant, a brand of Ascena Retail Group Inc. (ASNA), last week announced the opening of a new store at Bellis Fair in Bellingham, WA. Celebration to mark the inauguration of the store was held over the weekend from Jul 18 to Jul 20.

During the weekend, Lane Bryant gave away 50 gift cards worth $25 to customers on each day. Moreover, customers who made purchases during the celebration period will enjoy a special offer for lingerie during the Cacique Semi-Annual Sale.

The store expansion plans of Ascena seem to be gaining pace this year. Prior to this in June, the company opened a new Lane Bryant store at Kittery Outlet Center in Kittery and reopened one store located at Santee Trolley Square in Santee, CA. Earlier in May, Ascena opened 9 new Lane Bryant stores including 2 stores in Michigan at Woodhaven Commons in Woodhaven and The Village of Rochester Hills in Rochester; 2 stores in Pennsylvania at Whitehall Mall in Whitehall and Willow Grove; and 1 store each at Peabody Place in Peabody, MA; The Levee District at East Peoria Downtown in East Peoria, IL; Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale, CA; Livingston Mall in Livingston, NJ; and The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek, OH.

In April, the company opened 4 new Lane Bryant stores at the Elmore Marketplace in Davenport, IA; at Alliance Town Center in Fort Worth, TX; at Genesee Valley Center in Flint, MI; and at Burnsville Center in Burnsville, MN. Additionally, it unveiled 3 Lane Bryant stores at March-end. Inaugurated on Mar 28, the stores are located at Chimney Rock in Odessa, TX; The Shoppes at Gary Farms in Bowling Green, KY; and Willow Ridge Plaza in Marlton, NJ.

Lane Bryant is a renowned curvy women's specialty apparel retailer, offering designer and high-quality fashion. The brand’s assortments comprise an extensive range of formal and casual apparel, together with accessories, footwear, hosiery and its intimate apparel range – Cacique. Lane Bryant, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ascena, operates over 775 full-line and outlet stores in 48 states across the United States, targeting plus-size women aged 30 to 45 and serves women's sizes 14–28.

Ascena Retail Group is a specialty retailer that offers clothing for women as well as teen girls and boys. The company provides apparel, accessories, footwear, undergarments and lifestyle products such as bedroom furnishings and electronics.

The company’s operating segments include Justice, Lane Bryant, Maurices, Dressbarn and Catherines. Some of the popular brands sold by the company include Justice, Brothers, Lane Bryant, Cacique, Right Fit, Maurices, Studio Y, Dressbarn, Catherines, Maggie Barnes, Liz&Me and Serenada.

As of Apr 26, 2014, Ascena operated nearly 3,900 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. In its last earnings release, the company outlined its plan to open about 40–60 stores during fiscal 2014.

Ascena currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks among apparel and shoe retailers include Citi Trends, Inc. (CTRN), Foot Locker, Inc. (FL) and Zumiez Inc. (ZUMZ). Of these, Citi Trends has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Foot Locker and Zumiez carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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