Ascena Retail Group Q1 income, sales beat Street

The parent company of such brands as Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant and Dressbarn started its fiscal year on a high note, fueled by strong sales at Ann Taylor, Loft and Justice.

Ascena Retail Group reported net income of $6 million, or $0.03 per diluted share in the quarter ended, compared to net income of $7 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings were $0.06 per diluted share compared to adjusted earnings of $0.11 per diluted share in the year-ago period, with the decline primarily caused by the unfavorable impact of the 53rd week and the new revenue recognition standard. Analysts had expected adjusted earnings of $0.07 a share.

Net sales were a better-than-expected $1.592 billion compared to $1.590 billion. Total same-store sales rose 3%. By division, same-store sales rose 8% at premium fashion (Ann Taylor and Loft) and 12% at kids fashion (Justice). Same-store sales decreased 3% at value fashion (dressbarn and maurices) and 2% at plus fashion (Catherines and Lane Bryant).

“Our first quarter results represent another step forward in our journey to transform ascena into a more agile, profitable company,” said CEO and chairman David Jaffe. “We have built a solid foundation over the course of our transformation, consisting of new brand leadership and significantly enhanced enterprise capabilities. We believe our efforts are beginning to produce positive results, and are focused on building upon our momentum."

Jaffe noted that the company is continuing to evaluate all opportunities to increase shareholder value, including ongoing assessment of its brand portfolio, development of our platform capability to enable delivery of third party services, and potential new channels of distribution.