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SUFFERN, NY-Woman’s apparel retailer Dress Barn Inc. reported Tuesday that net sales during the retailer’s fourth quarter ended July 29 increased 12% to $343.3 million compared to last year’s $307.1 million. Comparable store sales during the period increased 7%, driven by a 12%-increase for the company’s dressbarn stores, and offset by a 3%-decrease for the company’s maurices stores.

“Our dressbarn concept continued to hit the mark and ended the quarter with a lean, focused assortment and very little exposure to clearance,” said David R. Jaffe, president and CEO of Dress Barn Inc. Jaffe went on to say that the company is “pleased with the very successful integration of maurices and it is now well-positioned for store growth.”

Net earnings the quarter were $24.4 million, or 35 cents per diluted share. While this is less than the prior year’s reported $33.6 million, or 54 cents per diluted share, the year-ago quarter’s results include the favorable pre-tax impact of $37.7 million, or 32 cents per diluted share.

Net sales for the fiscal year ended July 29 increased to a record $1.3 billion, a 30%-increase over the previous fiscal year’s level of approximately $1 billion. Comparable store sales increased 8% for this period, driven primarily by a 10%-increase for dressbarn, while maurices increased 5%. The current full year financial results were also driven by the inclusion of a full-year sales contribution from maurices compared to seven months in the prior year. Net earnings for the year increased to $79 million, or $1.15 per diluted share, compared to a reported $52.6 million, or 86 cents per diluted share in the prior year.

The company operates 799 dressbarn stores in 45 states and 548 maurices stores in 40 states. Representatives reaffirmed their previously estimated 2007 earnings per diluted share guidance in the range of $1.25 to $1.30, which represents a 9% to 13% increase over actual per diluted share earnings of $1.15 for fiscal 2006.

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