NEW YORK -- Ascena Retail (ASNA) - Get Report  is trying to hold long-term lows, and option traders are shopping for a rebound. 

OptionMonster's Heat Seeker system detected the purchase of almost 3,500 March 12 calls on Friday for 35 cents and 40 cents. Volume dwarfed open interest of 208 contracts, so new money was put to work. 

Long calls lock in the price where investors can buy a stock, which lets them position for a rally at limited cost. The options can also generate significant leverage if shares move higher. 

Ascena rose 2.65% to $11.23 on Friday but remains near levels last seen in September 2010. The company has lost about half its value since the start of last year amid poor results at its Justice and Lane Bryant stores. 

Its next earnings report is estimated for early March, so Friday's buyers would profit from a rally into the news. 

Overall option volume was eight times greater than average in the session, with calls accounting for a bullish 89% of the total. 

-- Written by David Russell of  OptionMonster

Russell has no positions in ASNA