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The store expansion plan of Ascena Retail Group Inc.’s (ASNA - Snapshot Report) Lane Bryant brand continues in full swing with the opening of yet another location that marks the brand’s 3rd outlet opened in August and the 25th one in this fiscal year. The company’s latest store is located at Westfield Hawthorn in Vernon Hills, IL.

Celebrations to mark the inauguration of this store were held over the weekend from Aug 15 to Aug 17. During the celebration period, Lane Bryant gave away 25 gift cards worth $25 to customers on each day. Moreover, customers who made purchases of $50 or more were awarded with $25 Real Women Dollars to be redeemable on a later date.

Apart from the above giveaways, the company also distributed a special $250 Lane Bryant Gift Card to a lucky customer who visited the store on Aug 15 between 4–6 pm.

The store expansion plans of Ascena seem to be gaining pace this year. Apart from the last week opening, the company had opened two more Lane Bryant stores in August so far located one each at The Outlets at Tejon in Arvin, CA and Seabrook Commons in Seabrook, NH. Earlier in July, the company opened 4 new Lane Bryant stores at Bellis Fair in Bellingham, WA; South Hills Village in Pittsburgh, PA; Camelback Colonnade in Phoenix, AZ; and Evergreen Marketplace in Evergreen Park, IL.

In June, the company opened a new Lane Bryant store at Kittery Outlet Center in Kittery and reopened one store located at Santee Trolley Square in Santee, CA. Earlier in fiscal 2014, the company has opened 9 stores in May, 4 in April and 3 in March-end.

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). Better-ranked stocks among apparel and shoe retailers include Citi Trends, Inc. (CTRN - Analyst Report), The Men’s Wearhouse, Inc. (MW - Snapshot Report) and Zumiez Inc. (ZUMZ - Analyst Report). Of these, Citi Trends and Men’s Wearhouse sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Zumiez holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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