WEST FARGO — Women's clothing retailer Dressbarn announced plans Monday, May 20, to wind down its retail operations and close its approximately 650 stores, including the West Fargo store at 1500 13th Ave. E.

In an announcement, Ascena Retail Group said its Dressbarn stores are open and will continue to conduct business as usual. Plans for going-out-of-business sales and individual store closing dates will be announced at a later date.

In a statement, CFO Steven Taylor called the decision "difficult, but necessary."

"For more than 50 years, Dressbarn has served women’s fashion needs, and we thank all of our dedicated associates for their commitment to Dressbarn and our valued customers," he said. "This decision was difficult, but necessary, as the Dressbarn chain has not been operating at an acceptable level of profitability in today’s retail environment."

Roslyn and Elliot Jaffe opened the first Dressbarn in 1962 in Stamford, Connecticut, according to the chain's website, with Rosyln choosing the name shortly before it opened to denote fashion and value. After acquiring several other women's and kids' clothing brands, the company reorganized its structure in 2011 and changed its name to Ascena. The Mahwah, New Jersey-based company has built up an array of retail chains, most recently with the 2015 purchase of Ann Taylor and Loft brands. Now Ascena has been unwinding some of those purchases. In March, it announced that it sold a majority stake in its Maurices chain to private-equity chain OpCapita for $300 million.