Ascena Retail Group has announced it is closing 53 additional Dressbarn stores by the end of August.
The news follows the May announcement that Ascena planned to shutter approximately 650 Dressbarn stores in order to concentrate on the company’s more profitable brands, including apparel chains Loft and Ann Taylor.
At the time, the company admitted the decision to close the stores wasn’t easy to make. “[The] Dressbarn chain has not been operating at an acceptable level of profitability in today’s retail environment,” said CFO Steven Taylor.
While the retail chain has been around for more than 50 years, Dressbarn has been challenged when it comes to growth: Consumers are looking toward off-price chains like Ross Stores and TJ Maxx, as well as fast-fashion merchants such as Zara and H&M, in addition to Target. At the same time, Amazon is still taking a large share of the online apparel market.
While there had been reports that Dressbarn itself would file for bankruptcy if its landlords didn’t agree to relieve the brand of its lease obligations, the company revealed on Thursday (July 18) that everything is going as planned and that all stores are expected to be shuttered by the end of the year.
“We have received overwhelming landlord support for our plan, which will allow us to implement our wind-down in a manner that provides the best recovery for our landlords. Further, we are current, and expect to remain so, with our vendors and suppliers,” Taylor said, according to CNBC.
The company is currently working with Gordon Brothers Retail Partners on the store closures, while Hilco Streambank is searching for buyers for Dressbarn’s intellectual property, and Malfitano Partners is managing the overall wind-down. Although it is still receiving “fresh inventory,” customers have been encouraged to “shop early for the best selection, and use any outstanding gift cards.”