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Maurices sales edge up in latest quarter

The Maurices headquarters in downtown Duluth. (file / News Tribune)

Duluth-based Maurices saw its sales rise slightly in the past three months even as retailers on the whole continued to face a “challenging selling environment.”

“While we were pleased with continued traction at the enterprise level, performance was again mixed across our portfolio,” said David Jaffe, CEO of parent company Ascena Retail Group, which also includes brands such as Dressbarn and Loft.

The company’s second fiscal quarter ended Feb. 2; comparable sales rose 1 percent over this holiday quarter at Maurices. Net sales for the period were $257.8 million.

“This represented a significant improvement from our previous quarter,” said Maurices president and CEO George Goldfarb. “Our strategy to narrow our choice count, delivering depth in key categories, worked well to drive holiday sales.”

Ascena reported a loss of $0.36 per diluted share this quarter. Store closures continued across the company as part of its path toward profitability — the “Change for Growth” initiative — leaving 943 Maurices stores at the end of the quarter, 50 fewer than there were at the same time last year.

Ascena’s stock price was $1.89 at closing Thursday. It has traded as low as $1.77 and as high as $5.29 in the past year.

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