To some, it would be akin to naming your new restaurant Gluttony, or rolling out the new Chrysler Guzzler line of SUV. Yet dressbarn has somehow overcome the unfortunate imagery of its name to successfully run nearly 2,500 dressbarn, maurices, and Justice retail stores that sell fashionable clothes to women and girls.
The company recently rebranded itself as Ascena Retail Group (Nasdaq: ASNA) to reflect that it's more than just dressbarn, but those stores will keep the farm-centric moniker.
Ascena and its founding family have been building relationships with shoppers for more than four decades, and it's well-positioned for continued success. But the market has put the stock on the discount rack.
Roslyn Jaffe opened the first Dress Barn store in 1962 as a place for working women to find stylish clothes at value prices. Soon her husband joined in, and today he and his son David -- with Roslyn sitting on the board -- are expanding Ascena, offering women and tween girls low-priced clothing under three brands: dressbarn, maurices, and Justice.
Echoing Danaher's ability to bring in a new business and improve operations, Ascena has shown it has a repeatable process on the retail side. Its maurices stores (another family