Acquisitions Help Ascena Q1 Profit, Sales Rise

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Holiday at Lane Bryant

Suffern, NY—Helped by the contributions from its recent acquisitions of Lane Bryant and Catherines, Ascena Retail Group reported late Wednesday  better-than-expected first quarter earnings.

For the quarter ended Oct. 27, the parent of dressbarn and maurices posted an 18% increase in its net earnings to $46.2 million, or 39 cents per adjusted share, compared with 33 cents a share a year ago. That was 5 cents a share higher than analysts’ average estimate.

Net revenue jumped 48% to $1.138 billion, just under the $1.14 billion analysts forecast.

Comparable store sales for stores and online increased 4%.

Most of the gains came from its acquisitions bought last June. “We exceeded our financial and operational plan and made good progress with respect to the integration of our most recent strategic acquisition,” said David Jaffe, chief executive. “We remain confident that the Lane Bryant and Catherines brands will become important value drivers for our shareholders over the long-term.”

Ascena reaffirmed its previously forecast for full year earnings of $1.45 to $1.55 a share. Analysts’ average estimate expects $1.56 a share.

“While we remain generally optimistic, the bulk of the holiday retail season remains in front of us,” Jaffe added. “Also during the upcoming weeks, we look forward to additional clarity regarding the current fiscal and macroeconomic uncertainty that could affect consumers in the coming year.”