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The Dress Barn, Inc. Reports 32% Quarterly Earnings Increase

SUFFERN, N.Y., Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dress Earn, Inc. (Nasdaq: DBRN) today reported a 32% increase in earnings for its first quarter ended October 26, 1996.

As reported on October 31st, net sales for the first quarter were $142.8 million, a 4% increase over sales of $137.4 million last year. The Company's same store sales increased 2% during this same period. Net income increased 32% to $7.9 million, or $.35 per share, versus $6.0 million, or $.27 per share last year.

Elliot S. Jaffe, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer commented, "We are pleased with the better than expected earnings results for our first quarter. This clearly reflects the favorable leverage from reducing our cost structure, improved merchandise margins, aggressively closing underperforming stores and the continued opening of our larger sized combination stores, "combos". These continued strategies, along with testing new merchandising concepts, should continue to enhance shareholder value. Inventories are current and in line with our current sales projections."

Mr. Jaffe also commented: "This year's November sales comparison will be affected by Thanksgiving Day falling one week later than in 1995. This year, that week's sales will be included in our December sales results instead of November. Since Thanksgiving Week traditionally begins the start of our Holiday selling season, December sales should be substantially advantaged by the one week shift and should be combined with November's sales results for a more valid comparison. We are well positioned for the Holiday Season and are confident that we should exceed last year's performance."

The Company opened new or converted to combos, 29 stores and closed 7 of the smaller size older stores during the quarter. As of October 26, 1996, the Company operated 728 stores (Dress Barn, 471, Dress Barn Woman, 91 and Combos, 166) compared to 776 stores last year. However, with the opening of the larger sized combo stores, selling square footage increased 4%.

The Dress Barn, Inc. operates a national chain of value-priced specialty stores offering career fashion to the working woman. These stores, operating principally under the name "Dress Barn", offer in-season, moderate to better price fashion apparel. Dress Barn emphasizes fashion and quality at substantial discounts from department store prices.

This news release contains forward-looking statements. Important factors which may affect these statements are contained in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended July 27, 1996 and may be contained in any subsequent reports filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
 The Dress Barn, Inc. and Subsidiaries
 Condensed Consolidated Statements of Earnings - Unaudited
 Dollars in thousands except shares and per share amounts
 Thirteen Weeks Ended
 October 26, October 28,
 1996 1995
 Net sales $142,755 100.0% $137,351 100.0%


Cost of sales, including
 occupancy and buying costs 92,799 65.0% 88,964 64.8%
 Gross profit 49,956 35.0% 48,387 35.2%


Selling, general and
 administrative expenses 34,035 23.8% 34,830 25.4%
 Depreciation expense 4,390 3.1% 4,736 3.4%
 Operating income 11,531 8.1% 8,821 6.4%
 Interest income - net 943 0.7% 743 0.5%
 Earnings before income taxes 12,474 8.7% 9,564 7.0%
 Income taxes 4,553 3.2% 3,538 2.6%
 Net earnings $7,921 5.5% $6,026 4.4%
 Earnings per share $0.35 $0.27


Weighted average
 shares outstanding 22,597,842 22,323,404
 The Dress Barn, Inc. and Subsidiaries
 Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets - Unaudited
 Dollars in thousands
 October 26, October 28,
 ASSETS 1996 1995


Current Assets:
 Cash & cash equivalents $19,253 $6,818
 Marketable securities 85,828 63,481
 Merchandise inventories 99,682 98,924
 Prepaid expenses and other 4,025 3,325
 Total Current Assets 208,788 172,548
 Property and Equipment 80,343 80,703
 Other Assets 1,057 759
 Total $290,188 $254,010


LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
 Current Liabilities $ 76,792 $ 64,203
 Deferred Income Taxes 1,991 1,117
 Long-Term Debt 3,500 3,500
 Shareholders' Equity 207,905 185,190
 Total $290,188 $254,010


SOURCE Dress Barn, Inc.
 -0- 11/25/96


/CONTACT: Armand Correia, Senior Vice President & CFO of The Dress Barn, Inc., 914-369-4600/

(DBRN)

CO: Dress Barn, Inc. ST: New York IN: REA SU: ERN

SH-MT -- NYM053 -- 3562 11/25/96 09:33 EST http://www.prnewswire.com
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Date:Nov 25, 1996
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