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EPS plunges 32% at Ascena Retail in Q3FY15
Jun '15
For third fiscal quarter ended April 25, 2105, earnings from continuing operations at Ascena Retail Group plunged 32 per cent from a fiscal ago quarter.

For the third quarter of fiscal 2015, earnings from continuing operations reached $0.15 per diluted, down 32 per cent as against $0.22 per diluted share in the same period of fiscal 2014.

In a press release, Ascena said, adjusted earnings from continuing operations in the third quarter of fiscal 2015 were $0.18 per diluted share, compared to $0.27 per diluted share in the prior fiscal’s third quarter.

Net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2015 rose marginally by 0.5 per cent year on year to $1.15 billion in the corresponding quarter of previous fiscal.

“New store growth at Maurices and positive combined comparable sales at Lane Bryant, Maurices, and Catherines was offset by negative combined comparable sales at Justice and Dressbarn,” Ascena explained.

Gross profit for the reporting quarter stood at $675.1 million or 58.7 per cent compared to $657.7 or 57.4 per cent of sales in the third quarter of last fiscal.

“This was driven by very strong gross margin rate improvement at Lane Bryant, record rate performance at Maurices, and the eighth straight quarter of rate growth at Dressbarn,” the apparel marketer noted.

“Justice gross margin rate was down to last fiscal, primarily as a result of sell-down of Brothers merchandise. Excluding Brothers, Justice gross margin was up almost 100 basis points,” it said.

Buying, distribution and occupancy (BD&O) expenses for the third quarter of fiscal 2015 were $214.2 million or 18.6 per cent, up from $207.7 million or 18.1 per cent of sales in the same quarter of earlier fiscal.

According to Ascena, the increase versus last fiscal’s third quarter primarily reflects higher store occupancy costs, and increased merchandising and design capability at Maurices and Dressbarn.

Distribution expense rate was down to 1.3 per cent from 1.6 per cent in the fiscal ago period, reflecting ongoing realisation of supply chain synergies.

Operating income for the quarter under review fell to $34.4 million or 3.0 per cent of sales as against $53.7 million or 4.7 per cent of sales in the same quarter of last fiscal.

The effective tax rate decreased to 26.1% for the third quarter of fiscal 2015 from 30.6 per cent for the third quarter of fiscal 2014.

The Company ended the third quarter of fiscal 2015 with cash and cash equivalents of $208.9 million and total debt of $155.0 million, compared to $213.2 million of cash and cash equivalents and $225.0 million of total debt.

Ascena Retail reaffirmed its guidance for adjusted earnings per diluted share from continuing operations in the range of $0.70 to $0.75 for the fiscal ending July 2015.

The Company is now projecting flat to modest negative combined comparable sales performance for the fiscal and is projecting total capex between $325 million to $350 million. (AR)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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