News Column

ANN INC. Reports Second Quarter 2014 Results

September 6, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Marketing Weekly News -- ANN INC. (NYSE: ANN) reported results for the fiscal second quarter of 2014, ended August 2, 2014. The Company also provided its outlook for the third quarter and updated its outlook for fiscal 2014.

For the fiscal second quarter of 2014, the Company reported earnings per diluted share of $0.70, compared with earnings per diluted share of $0.76 in the second quarter of 2013.

Kay Krill, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Our results for the quarter were slightly better than the outlook we provided earlier this month. As previously reported, while the quarter had started on a positive note with solid momentum through mid-June, the second half of the period proved challenging, as softer traffic levels and a highly promotional environment pressured sales and margin. In addition, LOFT experienced continued softness in basic knit tops, which represented a significant component of its summer assortment.

"We have entered the third quarter with fresh fall fashion and clean inventory levels at both brands. While the environment has been choppy this year, both Ann Taylor and LOFT will be offering her great feminine fashion and outstanding value to meet all of her wardrobing needs for the Fall season.

"In addition, we continue to make progress on our strategic growth initiatives, which offer significant potential to further expand our brands, broaden our client base and drive long-term growth and, as always, we are highly committed to further enhancing shareholder value," stated Ms. Krill.

Fiscal 2014 Second Quarter Results

Total net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2014 were $648.7 million, compared with net sales of $638.2 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2013. By brand, net sales across all channels of the Ann Taylor brand totaled $250.0 million in the second quarter of 2014, compared with net sales of $245.2 million in the second quarter of 2013. At the LOFT brand, net sales across all channels totaled $398.7 million in the second quarter of 2014, compared with net sales of $393.0 million in the second quarter of 2013.

Total Company comparable sales for the quarter decreased 2.3% versus the second quarter of 2013. At Ann Taylor, total brand comparable sales increased 0.7%, reflecting an increase of 2.0% at Ann Taylor, partially offset by a decline of 1.9% in the Ann Taylor Factory channel.

At LOFT, total brand comparable sales decreased 4.1%, reflecting a decrease of 5.2% at LOFT and an increase of 0.3% in the LOFT Outlet channel. (Please refer to Table 3 for a breakdown of sales by brand and channel.)

Gross margin, as a percentage of net sales, was 52.4%, versus the 54.7% gross margin rate achieved in the second quarter of 2013, reflecting an overall decrease in merchandise margin as a result of higher-than-anticipated promotional activity.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the second quarter of 2014 were $284.7 million, versus $289.3 million reported in the second quarter of 2013. As a percentage of net sales, selling, general and administrative expenses improved 140 basis points to 43.9% compared to the second quarter of 2013, primarily due to lower marketing and performance-based compensation expense, as well as savings associated with our first quarter 2014 restructuring.

The Company reported operating income of $54.9 million in the second quarter of 2014, compared with operating income of $60.0 million in the second quarter of 2013. Net income was $32.7 million in the second quarter of 2014 versus $35.6 million reported in the second quarter of 2013. Diluted earnings per share was $0.70, compared to $0.76 per diluted share reported in the second quarter of 2013.

The Company ended the quarter with $150 million in cash and cash equivalents, following the repurchase of approximately 1.3 million shares of its stock at a cost of $50 million during the fiscal second quarter of 2014.

Total inventory per square foot at the end of the second quarter increased 1% versus year-ago, reflecting a 10% increase at Ann Taylor, and decreases of 2% at LOFT and 2% in the factory/outlet channel. The increase at Ann Taylor reflects a shift in the timing of receipts for Fall product as well as a change in merchandise mix.

During the second quarter of fiscal 2014, the Company opened 17 stores, comprised of two Ann Taylor Factory stores, six LOFT stores and nine LOFT Outlet stores, and closed three Ann Taylor stores and six LOFT stores. The total store count at the end of the fiscal second quarter was 1,040, comprised of 261 Ann Taylor stores, 113 Ann Taylor Factory stores, 544 LOFT stores and 122 LOFT Outlet stores.

First Half Fiscal 2014 Results

Net sales for the first six months of fiscal 2014 were $1,239.3 million, compared with net sales of $1,212.7 million in the first half of fiscal 2013. By brand, net sales across all channels of the Ann Taylor brand were $469.9 million in the first half of 2014, compared with net sales of $464.4 million in the first half of 2013. At the LOFT brand, net sales across all channels were $769.4 million in the first half of 2014, compared with net sales of $748.3 million in the first half of 2013.

Total Company comparable sales for the first half of 2014 decreased 2.1%. At Ann Taylor, total brand comparable sales decreased 0.7%, reflecting an increase of 1.1% at Ann Taylor offset by a decrease of 4.3% in the Ann Taylor Factory channel. At LOFT, total brand comparable sales decreased 2.9%, reflecting a decrease of 3.6% at LOFT, partially offset by an increase of 0.1% in the LOFT Outlet channel. (Please refer to Table 3 for a breakdown of sales by brand and channel.)

Gross margin, as a percentage of net sales, was 52.8% in the first half of 2014, compared with 55.2% in the first half of 2013, reflecting an overall decrease in merchandise margin rate as a result of higher-than-anticipated promotional activity during the first half of 2014.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the first half of 2014 were $573.4 million, versus $576.0 million in the first half of 2013. As a percentage of net sales, selling, general and administrative expenses improved 120 basis points versus the prior year period to 46.3%. The improvement in the SG&A rate was primarily due to reduced marketing and performance-based compensation expenses, as well as savings associated with our first quarter 2014 restructuring.

The Company recorded a pre-tax restructuring charge of $17.3 million during the fiscal first half of 2014 in connection with its previously announced strategic realignment. There was no such restructuring charge recorded in the first half of 2013.

For the fiscal first half of 2014, the Company reported operating income of $64.1 million on a GAAP basis. Excluding the aforementioned restructuring charge, operating income in the first half of 2014 was $81.4 million, compared with operating income of $93.9 million in the first half of 2013.

Net income for the first half of 2014 was $37.9 million, or $0.81 per share, on a GAAP basis, which reflects the impact of the $10.3 million or $0.22 per diluted share after-tax restructuring charge taken in the first half of 2014. Excluding the effect of the restructuring charge, the Company reported net income of $48.2 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, in the first half of 2014, compared with net income of $56.6 million, or $1.20 per diluted share, in the first half of 2013.

Outlook for Fiscal Third-Quarter and Full-Year 2014

For the fiscal third quarter of 2014, the Company expects total net sales to be $670 million, reflecting total Company comparable sales that are flat to slightly negative. Gross margin rate performance is expected to be 54.0%. Selling, general and administrative expenses are expected to be $300 million. Total weighted average diluted shares outstanding for the third quarter are expected to be 46.2 million, which includes the effect of participating securities.

Keywords for this news article include: ANN INC., Marketing, Advertising.

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Source: Marketing Weekly News


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