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Ascena CEO Jaffe: My 'Wake Up Call'

Friday, 16 Sep 2011 | 7:04 PM ET
Is Ascena Worth a Second Look?
Cramer says retail stocks are bizarrely on fire and asks David Jaffe, Ascena Retail Group CEO what's going on with this company and whether the stock is still fashionable.

It was a real "wake up call" when apparel store dressbarn posted disappointing results in fall, Ascena Retail Group CEO David Jaffe said Friday.

"There were a lot of things we looked at and said, 'You know, maybe we could be doing this better,'" Jaffe told Cramer on "Mad Money."

In turn, Jaffe said they came back in the spring and hit 4 percent comps with a 10 percent operating income. Along the way, Jaffe said the brand changed distribution, as well as its merchandising structure to become more "lifestyle." These key changes, in addition to other improvements, seem to have helped turn dressbarn around, Jaffe said.

Meanwhile, Jaffe is optimistic about his Maurice's brand because the company is employing several initiatives, such as marketing by way of social networking and continuing to grow its e-commerce, as well.

Finally, Jaffe said the company is thinking about what it will do with all of its cash. A stock buyback is an option, but Jaffe is considering an acquisition, too. The acquisition would have to be a good fit, though. Before making any acquisitions, Jaffe wants to develop a synergy between the three brands and hopes to accomplish this in the next 12 months.

Based in Suffern, N.Y., Ascena operates retail stores under the dressbarn, maurices and Justice brands.

So does Cramer think this stock is a buy?

Well, he noted retail has been going up lately, but Ascena has been lagging. Given all of the things Ascena is doing to turn things around, though, he thinks now might be a good time buy ASNA.

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