Ascena Q4 Profit Drops Due to Charming Shoppes’ Acquisition Costs

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Suffern, NY— net income of $1.6 million, or 1 cent a share, down from $28.2 million, or 18 cents a share, a year earlier.

Income from continuing operations fell to $11.2 million, or 7 cents a share, from $28.2 million, or 18 cents a share.

Excluding the impact of the Charming buyout, earnings from continuing operations rose to 31 cents a share.

That just beat analysts’ average estimate for earnings of 29 cents a share. The estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Total revenue rose 30% to $939.7 million from $725.8 million, helped by strong online sales and sales from new stores. Analysts’ had forecast sales of forecast $781.7 million.

Comparable store sales increased 3%, which didn’t include online sales that rose 49% to $39 million excluding Charming’s results.

By store division, Justice had a strongest performance with comp store sales up 5%. ,

For its full fiscal year, Ascena’s earnings dropped 5% to $162.2 million, or $1.02 a share, from $170.5 million, or $1.05 a share, in the prior year. Comp store sales rose 5%.

Annual revenue improved to $3.35 billion from $2.91 billion.

“While each of our brands individually focuses on a different niche customer, the common thread through their strategies is a strong combination of fashion quality price and a high level of customer service, all of which support good conversion rates,” said David Jaffe, president/chief executive officer . “Their shared philosophy has driven our business effectively, even in a very competitive market.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2013, Ascena forecast annual earnings from continuing operations between $1.45 and $1.55 a share on sales of about $5 billion. That’s in-line with analysts’ average estimate for earnings of $1.55 a share on revenue of $3.65 billion.

Ascena plans to open about 180 to 200 stores and close 100 to 120 stores, ending the fiscal year with about 3,900 Justice, Lane Bryant, maurices, dressbarn and Catherines stores.



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