Shares of Dress Barn have plunged more than 6% today after the company announced that it cut its fiscal 2008 earnings forecast, citing a drop in comparable-store sales. The company now expects to earn $1.25 to $1.35 per share for 2008, down from its prior view of $1.40 to $1.50 per share. In the first quarter, DBRN expects to report earnings of 30 to 32 cents per share, down from 40 cents per share a year ago.

The weaker than anticipated comparable store sales and our need to bring our dressbarn stores' inventories into line are expected to negatively impact both our first and second quarters' earnings, said President and Chief Executive David R. Jaffe.

Pessimism is high toward DBRN, as the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.12 ranks above 94% of all those taken during the past year and indicates that puts easily outnumber calls among near-term options. Furthermore, nearly 13% of the stock's float is sold short. However, should these lowered earnings figures disappoint brokerage firms, there is room for things to get worse for DBRN. According to Zacks, 5 of the 6 analysts following the shares rate them a buy or better.