Dress Barn to change name to Ascena


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Dress Barn Inc. is trying to ditch its dated name, looking for something a little more flashy and sleek to help it ascend to hip new heights.


“Ascena,” or ASNA for the stock market tickers, seemed to be a good bet.

If shareholders of the discount clothing chain approve, the retailer could become Ascena Retail Group or Ascena Retail Inc. The company is looking to reorganize after its annual meeting at its Suffern, N.Y. headquarters Dec. 8.

Dress Barn stock fell about 1.3% to $21.92. There are about 20 Dress Barn locations in Southern California.

The company’s namesake brand, as well as Maurices and Tween Brands, would become subsidiaries. Executives sought the name change to unify the branches, which had been operating separately after being acquired by Dress Barn.
“We wanted a name that was very objective, that tied everything together and aligned the cultures and visions,” said Executive Vice President Armand Correia.

So management called in some consultants to brainstorm a new mantle, one with “a little panache to it,” Correia said.

“There is no question that the Dress Barn name didn’t resonate,” he said. “It was very ‘60s. It was time. But even though the name is dowdy, we certainly have a loyal customer base.”

One has to wonder if Pottery Barn feels left out.

-- Tiffany Hsu