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Going ahead with its store expansion plans, Lane Bryant, a brand of Ascena Retail Group Inc. (ASNA - Snapshot Report), last week announced the opening of a new store at Kittery Outlet Center in Kittery, ME. Moreover, the company also announced the reopening of one store located at Santee Trolley Square in Santee, CA.

The celebrations to mark the inauguration and reopening of these stores were held over the weekend from Jun 6 to Jun 8. During the weekend, Lane Bryant gave away 50 gift cards worth $25 to customers on each day as well as $25 Real Women Dollars for every $50 purchase made in store.

The store expansion plans of Ascena seem to be gaining pace this year. Earlier in May, Ascena opened 9 new Lane Bryant stores including 2 stores in Michigan at Woodhaven Commons in Woodhaven and The Village of Rochester Hills in Rochester; 2 stores in Pennsylvania at Whitehall Mall in Whitehall and Willow Grove; and 1 store each at Peabody Place in Peabody, MA; The Levee District at East Peoria Downtown in East Peoria, IL; Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale, CA; Livingston Mall in Livingston, NJ; and The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek, OH. In April, the company opened 4 new Lane Bryant stores at the Elmore Marketplace in Davenport, IA; at Alliance Town Center in Fort Worth, TX; at Genesee Valley Center in Flint, MI; and at Burnsville Center in Burnsville, MN.

Additionally, it unveiled 3 Lane Bryant stores at March-end. Inaugurated on Mar 28, the stores are located at Chimney Rock in Odessa, TX; The Shoppes at Gary Farms in Bowling Green, KY; and Willow Ridge Plaza in Marlton, NJ.

Lane Bryant is a renowned curvy women's specialty apparel retailer, offering designer and high-quality fashion. The brand’s assortments comprise an extensive range of formal and casual apparel, together with accessories, footwear, hosiery and its intimate apparel range – Cacique. Lane Bryant, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ascena, operates over 775 full-line and outlet stores in 48 states across the United States, targeting plus-size women aged 30 to 45 and serves women's sizes 14–28.

Ascena Retail Group is a specialty retailer that offers clothing for women as well as teen girls and boys. The company provides apparel, accessories, footwear, undergarments and lifestyle products such as bedroom furnishings and electronics.

The company’s operating segments include Justice, Lane Bryant, Maurices, Dressbarn and Catherines. Some of the popular brands sold by the company include Justice, Brothers, Lane Bryant, Cacique, Right Fit, Maurices, Studio Y, Dressbarn, Catherines, Maggie Barnes, Liz&Me and Serenada.

As of Apr 26, 2014, Ascena operated nearly 3,900 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. In its last earnings release, the company outlined its plan to open about 40–60 stores during fiscal 2014.

Ascena currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks among apparel and shoe retailers include Citi Trends, Inc. (CTRN - Analyst Report), Foot Locker, Inc. (FL - Snapshot Report) and American Apparel, Inc. (APP - Snapshot Report). Of these, Citi Trends has a Zacks Rank #1 (Buy), while Foot Locker and American Apparel carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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