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Ann Taylor Owner Falls as Slowing Traffic Prompts Weak Forecast

Ascena Retail, owner of the Ann Taylor, Maurices and Lane Bryant women’s clothing chains, fell as much as 24 percent in early trading after forecasting that weak traffic to its stores will continue to weigh on earnings.
Ann Taylor designs | Source: Ann Taylor
By
  • Bloomberg

MAHWAH, United States — Ascena Retail Group Inc., owner of the Ann Taylor, Maurices and Lane Bryant women's clothing chains, fell as much as 24 percent in early trading after forecasting that weak traffic to its stores will continue to weigh on earnings.

Profit will be 60 to 65 cents a share, excluding some items, in the fiscal year through July 2017, the Mahwah, New Jersey-based company said in a statement after markets closed on Monday. Analysts had estimated 82 cents, on average.

The forecast suggests that Ascena — which posted a 4 percent drop in fourth-quarter same-store sales — does not expect trends to improve any time soon. Chief executive officer David Jaffe pinned the disappointing performance on “a highly competitive selling environment and significant store traffic headwinds.”

“While we are seeing good customer demand during peak periods, off-peak demand has been inconsistent, and fourth quarter financial performance fell well below our expectations,” he said in the statement.

The shares dropped as low as $6.14 in early trading in New York Tuesday. Ascena already had slid 18 percent this year through Monday.

By Kevin Orland; editors: Nick Turner, Kevin Orland and Molly Schuetz.

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