AnnTaylor Posts Lower Profit, Details Expansion

New York City AnnTaylor Stores Corp. reported lower quarterly profit on Thursday, hurt by restructuring costs.

Net income fell to $25.9 million in the first quarter that ended on May 3 from $31.5 million a year earlier.

Net sales rose 2% to $591.7 million. Same-store sales fell 4.3%. The company attributed its performance primarily to growth from its LOFT division and, to a lesser extent, its Factory and Internet businesses.

Commenting on the results, Ann Taylor president and chief executive Kay Krill stated: "We are pleased with our performance in the first quarter, particularly in light of the ongoing macro-economic softness and uncertainty that is weighing on the retail sector. We are pursuing a two-pronged strategy focused on strengthening our core businesses and improving our cost structure, and this focus is clearly working."

The company indicated that it currently expects to open 66 stores in fiscal 2008, vs. its previous expectation of opening approximately 50-55 new stores. The change reflects the retailer’s intention to more aggressively expand Factory and LOFT Outlet openings.

In addition, it plans to open 10 additional LOFT stores, originally expected to be opened in 2009. As a result, the current outlook for 2008 new stores is comprised of 25 LOFT stores, 23 Factory stores, 14 LOFT Outlet stores and four Ann Taylor stores.

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