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Ann Inc. forecasts Q2 same-store sales drop, cuts guidance

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Ann Inc. expects to report a 2.3% decline in consolidated same-store sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2014. Total company net sales are now expected to be $648 million.

At the Ann Taylor brand, total comparable sales increased 0.7%, reflecting an increase of 2% at Ann Taylor, partially offset by a decline of 1.9% in the Ann Taylor Factory channel. At the Loft brand, total comparable sales declined 4.1%, reflecting a decrease of 5.2% at Loft and an increase of 0.3% in the Loft Outlet channel. Selling, general and administrative expenses are expected to be $286 million.

“Despite positive performance through mid-June, the remainder of the second quarter proved more challenging, with soft traffic across the industry and a highly promotional environment,” said Kay Krill, president and CEO. “While we delivered a positive comp for the quarter at Ann Taylor, we were disappointed in our performance at Loft, which experienced continued softness in basic knit tops that represent a meaningful component of Loft’s summer assortment. We took action to move through summer product, which pressured gross margin but enabled us to end the quarter with clean inventories at both brands."

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Study: Zales has highest APR for retail credit cards

BY Dan Berthiaume

Austin, Texas – Zales has the highest annual percentage rate (APR) on its private label card out of 61 U.S. retailers surveyed by CreditCards.com. According to the study, the retailers with the five highest maximum APRs are:

1. Zales, up to a 28.99% APR;
2. Office Depot Personal Credit, up to a 27.99% APR;
3. Staples Personal Account, up to a 27.99% APR;
4. My Best Buy, up to a 25.24% and 27.99% APR, depending on your credit score; and
5. My Best Buy Preferred, up to a 25.24% and 27.99% APR, depending on your credit score.

Conversely, the five retail credit cards with the lowest APR are:

1. OfficeMax Visa Signature Card: 9.99-23.99%
2. Army Air Force Exchange Military Star card: 10.24%
3. Nordstrom retail card: 10.90-22.90%
4. Nordstrom Visa Signature Card: 10.90-22.90%
5. Williams-Sonoma Visa Signature Card: 13.74-21.74%

The private label credit cards reviewed by CreditCards.com have an average APR of 23.23% (compared with an average of just 15.03% for all credit cards), which is up from 21.22% in 2010.

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HSN misses on Q2 income

BY Dan Berthiaume

St. Petersburg, Fla. – HSN Inc. (HSNi) missed Wall Street expectations for its net income in the second quarter of fiscal 2014. HSN reported net income of $40.9 million, a 5% drop from $43.3 million a year earlier.

Net sales rose 5% to $855.2 million, from $812.6 million. Mobile and digital sales growth helped drive the overall improvement in net sales. Promotions in the company’s Cornerstore business negatively impacted net income.

"Our focus during the second quarter remained on engaging our customers, emphasizing our unique content and proprietary products, and strengthening our digital platforms,” said Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN, Inc. “HSNi sales increased 5% and digital sales grew 9% with mobile now representing 15% of our total sales.

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