Ann Taylor profit tops estimate, upbeat on holiday

Net income surged to $24.2 million in the third quarter

New York City -- AnnTaylor Stores Corp.'s fiscal third-quarter profit rose, aided by better-than-expected sales growth. Net income surged to $24.2 million in the third quarter ended Oct. 30, compared with $2.1 million a year earlier.

Total sales rose 9.3% to $505.3 million, above analysts' expectations of $492.8 million.

Same-store sales increased 11.7% overall, with a 21.9% rise at the Ann Taylor brand and a 4.5% less expensive Loft chain.

The company forecast total sales in the fourth quarter approaching $500 million and a mid- to high-single-digit percentage increase in comparable sales in the period, which includes the holidays.

It expects double-digit same-store sales growth at the namesake brand and low single-digit growth at Loft.

For the full fiscal year, the company expects net sales approaching $1.97 billion and positive same-store sales growth at both brands.

"While we anticipate a promotional environment in the upcoming months, we feel good about our overall business as we enter the fourth quarter," CEO Kay Krill said in a statement.
 

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