The company saw revenues rocket 61.8% higher, to $318.9 million. The inclusion of its maurices brands in this period's results is a major reason for the substantial increase; maurices wasn't acquired until January 2005, so it wasn't included in the year-ago period. Same-store sales, however, did include maurices in the year-ago period, but this metric still managed to pull out 9% growth.
The acquisition benefited margins as well. Gross margins increased 12.2 percentage points to 41.4%, as the company capitalized on economies of scale in integrating maurices.
All these improvements resulted in an earnings blowout. Dress Barn's earnings per share increased 167% to $0.64 for the first quarter. Not a bad way to start fiscal 2006. And because its first quarter was so impressive, Dress Barn's leadership revised anticipated FY 2006 earnings to a new range of $1.90 to $1.95, up from its original estimate of $1.60 to $1.65.
One of the primary reasons for its success is that its product continues to "trend-right," in CEO David Jaffe's words. In previous coverage of Abercrombie & Fitch
Even with the latest 20% jump in share price, the company is only trading at roughly 18 times estimated earnings. Given this kind of top-line growth and improvements to margins, I think Dress Barn is still reasonably priced. If I were a shareholder -- alas, I'm not -- I'd stay put in this particular barn.
Further fashionable Foolishness:
(NYSE:ANN)also had a sharp-looking quarter.
- Whereas Limited Brands
(NYSE:LTD)has been, well, limited.
- And a couple Fools are wishing they never sold Chico's
Fool contributor Jeremy MacNealy does not own shares of any companies mentioned.