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L Brands January same-store sales up 9%; boosts Q4 estimate

BY Dan Berthiaume

Columbus, Ohio – L Brands reported a 9% increase in same-store sales for January. Analysts had expected an increase of 0.5%. The chain boosted its fourth-quarter earnings estimate.

Net sales for the 13-week fourth quarter, ended Feb.1, 2014, were $3.82 billion versus $3.86 billion in the 14-week year-ago quarter. Net sales were $3.8 billion for the 13 week fourth quarter ended Feb. 1, 2014 essentially flat with last year. Same-store sales were up 1%.

L Brands reported a same-store sales increase of 2% for the 52 week year ended Feb. 1, 2014. Net sales were $10.773 billion for year, compared to $10.459 billion for the 53 weeks ended Feb. 2, 2013.

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Ann Inc. expects higher sales for full year, Q4 2013

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Ann Inc., parent company of Ann Taylor and The Loft, expects net sales and same-store sales to increase for the fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2013, on a year-over-year basis. For the full year, Ann Inc. issued guidance for total net sales of $2.49 billion, reflecting a total net sales increase of 5% and a same-store sales increase of 2%.

For the fourth quarter, total company net sales are now expected to be $623 million, reflecting a same-store sales increase of 3%. At the Ann Taylor brand, total same-store sales declined 1%, reflecting an increase of 1% at Ann Taylor, offset by a decline of 6% in the Ann Taylor Factory channel. At the Loft brand, total same-store sales increased 6%, reflecting an increase of 8% at Loft, partially offset by a decline of 4% in the Loft Outlet channel.

"We are pleased with the year’s results, despite the fact that the fourth quarter came in lower than anticipated,” said Kay Krill, president and CEO of Ann Inc. “The company’s sales, gross margin and EPS for fourth quarter 2013 will be higher than fourth quarter 2012. However, soft traffic and tepid consumer spending across the industry negatively impacted us, particularly in factory outlet centers and geographic regions that experienced extreme winter weather.”

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The Wet Seal sales drop for Q4, full year 2013

BY Dan Berthiaume

Foothill Ranch, Calif. – The Wet Seal Inc. reported declines in net and same-store sales for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year 2013, compared to the same periods in the prior year. During the fourth quarter, Wet Seal reported net sales of $122.8 million, down 22.8%, and a 16.5% drop in same-store sales.

During the full fiscal year, Wet Seal reported net sales of $530.1 million, an 8.7% decline, and a 4.1% decrease in same-store sales. E-commerce sales declined 20% during the quarter and 10% during the year. John D. Goodman, CEO, cited mall traffic, promotions and assortment as factors in the disappointing results.

“We had a difficult fourth quarter, marked by ongoing softness in mall traffic, a highly promotional environment throughout the teen sector and elements of our assortments that did not resonate as well as we anticipated with our customers,” said Goodman. “This led to a greater than expected decline in same-store sales and pressured our merchandise margins. During this challenging period, we remain focused on the critical disciplines of expense control and inventory management. At fiscal year-end, inventory dollars per square foot were down approximately 9% versus the prior year at Wet Seal and down approximately 6% versus the prior year at Arden B.”

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