Lane Bryant, Loft struggle in holiday, Ascena adjusts financial outlook

Ascena Retail Group released its holiday sales results on Tuesday and provided fiscal second quarter and full year 2017 guidance.

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Most of the Ascena brands posted negative comparable sales for the holiday selling season with the exception of Catherines that increased 1.6% in the period. Comparable sales for the Premium Fashion, Value Fashion and Plus Fashion segments fell 4.1%, 6.0%, and 3.7%, respectively, while the Kids Fashion segment increased 2.7%.
Consolidated comparable sales for the holiday season and the November/December fiscal periods fell 2.7% and 4.4%, respectively.
“We were disappointed by our overall Holiday performance,” said David Jaffe, President and CEO. “Outside of discrete peaks during the holiday season, we experienced stronger than expected store traffic headwinds. As a result, we were forced into a more highly promotional stance in order to move through inventory in the face of softer overall consumer demand.”
Excluding restructuring, acquisition and integration related expenses, and non-cash ANN purchase accounting adjustments, Ascena expects its second quarter non-GAAP EPS to be in range of $(0.11) to $(0.08), and for full year fiscal 2017 non-GAAP EPS to be in range of $0.37 and $0.42.
Jaffe concluded, “At this juncture, we are positioning our full year outlook assuming that the trend we experienced through Holiday continues. We continue to aggressively work our Change for Growth enterprise transformation, and are focused on expense management opportunities to help us navigate the challenging environment.”

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