Dressbarn to shutter all of its 660 stores, including 8 in New Hampshire

Women’s clothing retailer makes ‘difficult, but necessary’ move

The New Jersey-based owner of Dressbarn is shutting down all 660 of the women’s clothing retailer’s stores nationwide, including eight in New Hampshire.

The chain, founded in 1962 to cater to professional women entering the workforce, said it has begun winding down retail operation, with plans for closing individual stores to be announced later.

Until then all Dressbarn stores will remain open, the company said.

The company’s New Hampshire stores are in Epping, Manchester,  North Conway, Seabrook, Somersworth, Tilton, and there are two Dressbarn locations in Nashua.

“This decision was difficult, but necessary, as the Dressbarn chain has not been operating at an acceptable level of profitability in today’s retail environment,” Steven Taylor, Dressbarn’s chief financial officer, said in a statement late Monday.

Customers will still be able to shop in-store and online during the wind-down process, the company said. Shoppers can also continue to use the brand’s credit cards, and there are no current changes to the brand’s return, refund or gift card policies.

Nationwide, the company has 6,800 employees.

Dressbarn is owned by Ascena Retail Group, which also owns the Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant and Justice brands.

“This decision has no impact on the operations of any of Ascena’s other brands and will strengthen the company’s overall financial performance,” Ascena Retail Group said in its own statement about Dressbarn on Monday.

On May 6, Ascena sold Minnesota-based Maurices, another women’s apparel retailer, for some $300 million to the European private equity firm OpCapita. There are four Maurices stores in New Hampshire.

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