Fiscal 2013 First Quarter Results
Total net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 were $574.5 million, compared with net sales of $560.4 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. By brand, net sales across all channels of the Ann Taylor brand totaled $219.3 million in the first quarter of 2013, compared with net sales of $212.4 million in the first quarter of 2012. At the LOFT brand, net sales across all channels were $355.2 million in the first quarter of 2013, compared with net sales of $348.0 million in the first quarter of 2012.
Total Company comparable sales for the quarter decreased 0.5% versus the first quarter of 2012. At Ann Taylor, total brand comparable sales increased 1.9%, reflecting an increase of 6.2% at Ann Taylor, partially offset by a decrease of 5.8% in the Ann Taylor Factory channel. At LOFT, total brand comparable sales decreased 1.9%, reflecting decreases of 0.9% at LOFT and 7.9% at LOFT Outlet.
Gross margin, as a percentage of net sales was 55.8%, versus the 56.6% gross margin rate achieved in the first quarter of 2012, reflecting an overall increase in merchandise margin rate, offset by the effect of higher shipping costs associated with multi-channel sales. The merchandise margin rate improvement reflected stronger performance at Ann Taylor as well as the factory outlet channels for both brands, partially offset by lower performance at LOFT, compared with the first quarter of 2012.
Selling, general and administrative expenses for the first quarter of 2013 were $286.7 million, versus $272.0 million reported in the first quarter of 2012. As a percentage of net sales, selling, general and administrative expenses were 49.9%, reflecting the impact of increased expenses associated with our year-over-year store growth and increased investments in marketing and other expenses to support the expansion of our business.
The Company reported operating income of $33.9 million for the quarter, compared with operating income of $45.4 million in the first quarter of 2012. Net income for the first quarter was $20.9 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, compared with net income of $28.7 million, or $0.58 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2012.
The Company ended the quarter with approximately $80 million in cash.
Total inventory per square foot at the end of the first quarter increased 6% versus year-ago, reflecting a 3% increase at Ann Taylor, a 13% increase at LOFT and a 3% decrease in the factory/outlet channel. The increase at LOFT reflects the impact of a timing shift in the receipt of a Summer merchandise delivery versus last year.
During the first quarter of fiscal 2013, the Company opened 13 new stores, comprised of one Ann Taylor store, one Ann Taylor Factory store, nine LOFT stores and two LOFT Outlet stores, and closed three Ann Taylor stores and five LOFT stores. Our total store count at the end of the fiscal first quarter of 2013 was 989, comprised of 273 Ann Taylor stores, 516 LOFT stores, 102 Ann Taylor Factory stores and 98 LOFT Outlet stores.
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