Dress Barn is seeking a new identity

Dress Barn, retailer, stores, reorganization, name changeDress Barn hopes to undergo an extreme makeover. The company is seeking shareholder approval to change its corporate name to Ascena Retail Group Inc., or Ascena, and to reorganize into a holding company.

"The proposed change in structure and name should provide an image more closely aligned with our current vision and strategies," President and Chief Executive Officer, David Jaffe said in a statement. "In recent years, we've become a fundamentally different company that extends beyond the original Dress Barn concept and brand. Our vision is to be a family of retail brands each serving a unique customer niche."

Among those other brands Jaffe mentioned are 757 Maurices and 890 Justice stores that market apparel and accessories to tween girls. Shareholders will vote on the proposed changes during the company's annual shareholder meeting December 8.

The original Dress Barn opened in 1962 and now boasts more than 800 stores. Companies that have been around for decades like Dress Barn tend to change their corporate names throughout the years. Dayton Hudson changing its name to Target Corp. and Tandy Corp. changing its identity to RadioShack, come to mind. There are plenty of consumers who still think Target's parent company is called Dayton Hudson, although the change went into effect in 2001. RadioShack's was a bit more seamless; so few people even knew what Tandy was in the first place. Changing the actual stores' name to The Shack, was a different story entirely, at least with Walletpop readers. More than 150 of you commented on the change and not very many in the positive.

But Dress Barn isn't The Shack and if the measure is approved at the annual meeting, the reorganization would take place on or about January 1, 2011. In the reorganization, Dress Barn, Maurices and Tween Brands, which operates the Justice brand, would become subsidiaries of the new holding company.

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