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Ascena Store Expansion in Full Swing

Zacks Equity Research

The store expansion plans of Ascena Retail Group Inc.’s (ASNA) Lane Bryant brand seem to be gaining pace again this year with the announcement of a new location at the Elmore Marketplace in Davenport, IA.

The celebrations to mark the opening of this new store were conducted over the weekend from Apr 4 to Apr 6. During the weekend, Lane Bryant gave away 25 gift cards worth $25 to customers on each day as well as $25 Real Women Dollars for every $50 purchase made in store throughout the weekend.

Additionally, the company had announced the opening of 3 more Lane Bryant stores at March-end. These stores were inaugurated on Mar 28 and are located at Chimney Rock in Odessa, TX; The Shoppes at Gary Farms in Bowling Green, KY; and Willow Ridge Plaza in Marlton, NJ. Inclusive of the above mentioned stores, the company opened about 8 new Lane Bryant stores throughout March this year.

Lane Bryant is a renowned women's curvy specialty apparel retailer, offering designer and high-quality fashion from sizes 14 to 28. The brand’s assortments comprise an extensive range of formal and casual apparel, together with accessories, footwear, hosiery and Cacique – the brand’s intimate apparel range. Lane Bryant 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 Mar 3, 2014, Ascena operated nearly 3,900 stores in United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. In its last earnings release, the company outlined its plan to open about 50 – 70 stores during fiscal 2014.

Other Stocks to Consider

Ascena currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Some better-performing stocks among apparel retailers include Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (KORS), Joe's Jeans Inc. (JOEZ) and American Apparel Inc. (APP). All of these have a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Read the Full Research Report on JOEZ
Read the Full Research Report on KORS
Read the Full Research Report on APP
Read the Full Research Report on ASNA

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