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Ascena Retail Group (ASNA) has closed all 2,800 stores and furloughed all associates - Source

March 26, 2020 9:40 AM EDT

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Ascena Retail Group (NASDAQ: ASNA) has closed all 2,800 stores and furloughed all associates, according to a source. The company operates Ann Taylor, LOFT, dressbarn, Lane Bryant, Catherines, and Justice.

Below is a letter from the CEO:

Last week, we made the unprecedented decision to temporarily close our 2800 stores across our five brands and channels. We took this important step to protect the health of our associates and do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Since our announced closure, thankfully we have had very few associates who have contracted COVID19. They remain in our hearts and we wish them well as they recover.

As COVID-19 continues to evolve, we are evaluating our business plans in two-week increments to stay in tune with the rapidly changing situation. While we have maintained e-commerce operations throughout the outbreak, with our stores closed, the impact of COVID-19 on our business has been severe. As a result, we must take swift actions to position ourselves to reopen our stores for our associates, customers, and shareholders.

We have spent a great deal of time evaluating our ability to weather this crisis by reviewing our customers’ shopping habits, understanding the trends in the retail industry and market, and monitoring our financial position as an organization. We have implemented immediate measures to preserve cash and plan to announce our corporate pay and workforce strategy to sustain our business during this uncertain time by the end of this week.

That said, we have made the extremely difficult decision to furlough our store associates until we can reopen our stores. Furloughing our associates is one of the most challenging decisions we have ever had to make as an organization. Over the last few years, we have been fighting to turn our business around. Despite many challenges, all of you have shown an unwavering commitment to our customers and brands, and it is incredibly disheartening for us to have to take this step due to the unpredictable and unimaginable impact of COVID-19. This is not an action any of us wanted to take, and we are disappointed to be in a position where we have to make this decision. I want you to know that as a furloughed associate, you are still very much part of our team, and it is our goal to recall you to work as soon as possible.

If you are participating in any of our medical plans, your coverage will continue to be governed by the terms and conditions of the applicable medical plan and will not be automatically impacted at this time as a result of being placed on furlough. Placing you on furlough may also entitle you to unemployment benefits, depending on the laws of the state in which you work.

If you are a part-time associate who is furloughed and you do not have access to benefits, you are also entitled to unemployment benefits, depending on the laws of the state in which you work. We have posted additional information about our decision on myAssociate Hub and will continue to use myAssociate Hub as a means to keep you updated on our progress and further actions. We will add new information daily and provide an update on Wednesdays over the next two weeks.

Thank you for your dedication, understanding, and support as we manage through this very challenging and rapidly changing crisis. I am hopeful that we will return to normal business operations soon and am committed to ensuring we are ready and able to reconnect with you and our valued customers when this crisis is controlled.

Sincerely,

Gary Muto

CEO, ascena Retail Group, Inc.



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