The fashion retailer Dressbarn announced it will be closing approximately 650 stores, affecting at least 6,800 employees. This announcement will have an impact on Arkansas stores.
Currently, Ascena Retail Group, Dressbarn’s parent company, has no specific timeline for the closures, but they are winding down business in order to close all locations. Steven Taylor, chief financial officer of Dressbarn, cites poor performance as the reason for these closures as the company is projecting a significant drop in revenues.
In total, there are five Dressbarn locations in Arkansas. There is one retail location in Hot Springs, Fort Smith, NOrth Little Rock, Rogers and Conway.
Two of the Arkansas locations – the Fort Smith and North Little Rock locations – are slated to close. The Conway location had previously closed.
Ascena Retail Group also owns Lane Bryant and Ann Taylor. The company recently sold its Maurice’s brand for approximately $300 million.
A crowded marketplace of competitors, including T.J. Maxx, Target and Walmart likely sapped many of Dressbarn’s customers. In a statement to the New York Times, Dressbarn’s chief financial officer Steven Taylor said the company had not been profitable.
“This decision was difficult, but necessary, as the Dressbarn chain has not been operating at an acceptable level of profitability in today’s retail environment,” Taylor said. “During the wind-down process, we will continue to provide our customers with the same great experience both in-store and online, offering them even better deals and value. We will work to assist our associates through the transition and maintain existing relationships with our vendors, suppliers, and other key stakeholders through this process.”
It will most likely take six to 12 months for Ascena to close all of the locations due to landlord consultations and selling off inventory. Employees are expecting to hear more about what stores are closing, and the company will be offering transition support.
For now, there will be no changes in store policies such as returning, refunding and gift cards.