Dressbarn announced it is winding down operations, including the eventual closing of its approximately 650 stores. The retailer, which is owned by Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant parent Ascena Retail Group, has retained A&G Realty Partners to assist on real estate-related matters. Currently, all Dressbarn stores are open and doing business as usual, as its e-commerce site, with no changes to the chain’s return, refund, or gift card policies. Information about store closing sales will be shared at a later date, according to the retailer. Dressbarn said it intends to continue paying its vendors and suppliers in full in the ordinary course. In a statement, Ascena said the move is in line with the company’s commitment to “comprehensively assess and optimize its portfolio by focusing resources on its most profitable brands to position the business for long-term growth and enhance shareholder value.” Earlier this month, Ascena completed the sale of its Maurices division to an affiliate of British private equity firm OpCapita. Click "read more" below for additional information.
Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN), a leading lifestyle products and services company which operates a portfolio of global consumer brands comprised of the Anthropologie, BHLDN, Free People, FP Movement, Terrain, Urban Outfitters, Nuuly and Menus & Venues brands, today announced net sales for the two and eleven months ended December 31, 2020.
Total Company net sales for the two months ended December 31, 2020, decreased 8.4% over the same period last year. Comparable Retail segment net sales decreased 9% due to negative retail store net sales as stronger conversion rates could not offset the reduced store traffic as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions. Lower store net sales were partially offset by strong double-digit growth in digital channel sales. By brand, comparable Retail segment net sales increased 1% at Free People and decreased 8% at Urban Outfitters and 12% at the Anthropologie Group. Wholesale segment net sales decreased 1%.
Although Retail segment comparable net sales have rebounded nicely in the month of January, URBN expects total Company gross profit margins for the fourth quarter to deleverage by several hundred basis points driven by two primary factors. First is the deleverage in delivery and logistics expenses due to the increased penetration of digital sales, carrier surcharges and increased expedited shipments; and second is deleverage in store occupancy expense due to negative store net sales.
For the eleven months ended December 31, 2020, total Company net sales decreased 14.3% over the same period last year. Comparable Retail segment net sales decreased 12%, driven by negative retail store net sales due to mandated store closures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and lower store productivity once opened, partially offset by strong double-digit growth in the digital channel. Wholesale segment net sales decreased 42%.
During the eleven months ended December 31, 2020, the Company opened a total of 18 new retail locations including: 6 Urban Outfitters stores, 6 Anthropologie Group stores and 6 Free People stores (including 2 FP Movement stores); and closed 6 retail locations including: 4 Urban Outfitters stores, 1 Anthropologie Group store and 1 Free People store. During the eleven months ended December 31, 2020, six franchisee-owned stores were closed including: four Urban Outfitters stores, one Anthropologie Group store and one Free People store.
On a personnel note, URBN today announced Trish Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Outfitters Group, will be leaving the Company as of January 31, 2021, to pursue a new career opportunity. We are pleased to announce that Sheila Harrington will become Chief Executive Officer for both Urban Outfitters Group and Free People Group. Additionally, Gabrielle Conforti, currently the Chief Merchandising Officer for the Urban Outfitters brand, has been promoted to President, Urban Outfitters North America, and Emma Wisden will continue as Managing Director, Urban Outfitters Europe, and will lead the Urban Outfitters brand Wholesale business. Both Gabrielle and Emma will report to Sheila.
“We thank Trish for her seven years of dedicated service to the Company. During her tenure she built a strong, talented team and the Urban brand grew revenues by over 10%,” said Richard A. Hayne, Chief Executive Officer, URBN. “I congratulate Sheila, Gabrielle and Emma on their promotions and added responsibility,” finished Mr. Hayne.