Ascena Retail Group (ASNA) Lifted to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

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Ascena Retail Group (NASDAQ:ASNA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday. The brokerage currently has a $4.75 price target on the specialty retailer’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target would indicate a potential upside of 7.71% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Ascena Retail Group, Inc, formerly known as The Dress Barn, Inc., operates as a national specialty retailer of apparel for women and girls under the Dressbarn, Maurices and Justice brands. Its Dressbarn stores offer casual, career and special occasion fashion apparel and accessories; Maurices stores offer casual and career apparel and accessories; and Justice stores offer trend-right apparel and accessories. Ascena Retail Group, Inc. is based in Suffern, New York. “

Several other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on the stock. BidaskClub cut shares of Ascena Retail Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 24th. Citigroup raised their price target on shares of Ascena Retail Group from $1.50 to $2.00 and gave the stock a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 26th. Finally, B. Riley raised their price target on shares of Ascena Retail Group from $3.50 to $4.50 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, August 15th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company. Ascena Retail Group currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $3.75.

NASDAQ:ASNA traded up $0.21 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, hitting $4.41. 4,333,447 shares of the company’s stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 2,359,660. The company has a current ratio of 1.25, a quick ratio of 0.55 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.66. Ascena Retail Group has a 1 year low of $1.79 and a 1 year high of $5.28. The company has a market capitalization of $769.75 million, a P/E ratio of -220.50 and a beta of 1.68.

Ascena Retail Group (NASDAQ:ASNA) last posted its earnings results on Monday, September 24th. The specialty retailer reported $0.07 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.02 by $0.05. Ascena Retail Group had a negative net margin of 0.60% and a negative return on equity of 0.59%. The firm had revenue of $1.77 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.62 billion. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.05 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 6.5% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts predict that Ascena Retail Group will post 0.07 earnings per share for the current year.

Several institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Strs Ohio boosted its position in shares of Ascena Retail Group by 28.6% in the second quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 177,200 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $706,000 after acquiring an additional 39,400 shares during the last quarter. Prescott Group Capital Management L.L.C. acquired a new stake in shares of Ascena Retail Group in the second quarter worth approximately $339,000. Royce & Associates LP boosted its position in shares of Ascena Retail Group by 12.0% in the second quarter. Royce & Associates LP now owns 1,382,466 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $5,509,000 after acquiring an additional 147,998 shares during the last quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board boosted its position in shares of Ascena Retail Group by 40.2% in the second quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 2,026,400 shares of the specialty retailer’s stock worth $8,075,000 after acquiring an additional 581,400 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Laurion Capital Management LP acquired a new stake in shares of Ascena Retail Group in the second quarter worth approximately $686,000. 94.51% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About Ascena Retail Group

Ascena Retail Group, Inc, through its subsidiaries, operates as a specialty retailer of apparel, shoes, and accessories for women and tween girls in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The company operates through four segments: Premium Fashion, Value Fashion, Plus Fashion, and Kids Fashion. It offers a range of merchandise, including apparel, accessories, footwear, and intimates; and lifestyle products comprising cosmetics and bedroom accessories.

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