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Ann Q4 profit doubles; integrates stores and e-commerce; cuts 100 jobs

New York – Ann Inc., owner of Ann Taylor and Loft, on Friday reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit but forecast a lower-than-expected outlook for the year. The retailer also announced a strategic realignment that includes integrating stores and e-commerce and will result in the loss of about 100 corporate jobs.

Ann said the realignment is expected to result in annual operating savings of about $25 million. The retailer expects about $15 million in savings for fiscal 2014. It anticipates an approximately $15 million restructuring charge related to the moves, with most of the charge coming in the first quarter.

"Retailing has undergone a sea change over the last few years, driven by the continued rapid shift of consumers' purchasing behavior and the growth of omni-channel shopping,” said president and CEO Kay Krill. “Ann Inc. has been at the forefront of this evolution, investing in the infrastructure and system enhancements that led to the launch of our successful omni-channel platform in 2012. Today, we are taking the next critical step, by realigning our organization to support an integrated stores/e-commerce structure to accelerate our strategic growth agenda and overall financial performance in 2014 and beyond.”

Krill said the realignment builds on the chain’s ongoing initiatives to expand its omni-channel capabilities, enhance the productivity of its store fleet, and grow its international presence.

As part of the restructuring, Ann promoted Gary Muto to president of Ann Inc. Brands. He will mostly concentrate on design, merchandising and marketing for Ann Taylor and Loft.

For the three months ended Feb. 1, Ann earned $4.7 million, up from $2.4 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue increased 3% to $623.3 million, a bit less than Wall Street's $624 million estimate. Same-store sales rose 2.9%.

For the full year, net income slipped to $102.4 million from $102.6 million.

Annual revenue rose 5% to $2.49 billion, from $2.38 billion. Same-store sales were up 2.3%.

© 2014