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All dressed up: Profits, sales surging for Duluth-based Maurices apparel chain

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A Duluth-based women’s apparel chain is in the midst of a major growth spurt, adding new stores and employees as its surging sales and profits impress investors.

The Duluth News Tribune reports maurices (which yes, uses all lower-case letters in its name) posted profits that were up 23 percent in the last quarter ending Jan. 24; sales jumped nearly 12 percent in the same quarter, hitting $280 million.

“We’re really excited about our results,” company president George Goldfarb said in an interview with the newspaper. “We knocked the cover off the ball.”

Maurices operates 921 stores in 45 U.S. states and in three Canadian provinces. Goldfarb believes maurices could grow to more than 1,200 stores with 8700 employees. The chain will launch an expanded plus-size collection online later this month, and will test the new line in 40 stores including its outlet in Duluth, where the expanded section will be unveiled this week.

Maurices' expansion is part of the city's growth that Duluth Mayor Don Ness highlighted in his State of the City address earlier this month, KDAL reported.

The company is in the process of building a new 11-story headquarters in downtown Duluth. Construction of the $75 million building is on target for spring 2016 occupancy, even though the Northlands News Center reported in January that construction work had to be temporarily suspended due to wind chill temperatures as low as 35 below. It was considered too cold for worker safety and some pieces of equipment wouldn't work in such bitter cold.

"We can't start fork lifts and scissor lifts with certain temperatures, and our tower crane today has a temperature cut off as well," said Dave Klehr, Field Superintendent for McGough Construction company.

Currently the company's 465 employees work in three connected downtown Duluth buildings. Maurices was acquired by the Ascena Retail Group a decade ago. The publicly-traded corporation, based in Mahwah, N.J., also owns Lane Bryant, Catherines and Justice clothing chains.

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