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Justice store brand embraced by customers
Nov '09
Tween Brands, Inc. reported a 2009 third quarter net income of $5.9 million, or $0.23 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $0.8 million, or $0.03 per diluted share for the third quarter of 2008. Net income for the third quarter of 2009, excluding a $2.8 million pretax merger charge and a $3.9 million pretax non-cash store impairment charge, was $ 14.7 million, or $0.58 per diluted share. Net income for the third quarter of 2008, excluding an $11.5 million pretax restructuring charge, was $6.4 million, or $0.26 per diluted share. A reconciliation of net income and net income per diluted share on a GAAP basis to net income and net income per diluted share excluding the merger, store impairment and restructuring charges, both non-GAAP financial measures, are shown at the end of this release.

“Our customers continue to embrace the value proposition of Justice, which was the fundamental reason for the brand transition we began just a short year ago. Justice has everything our girl needs at a competitive price, with the fun shopping experience and the industry-leading fashion assortment she wants. Our marketing strategy reinforces the message that our prices are as value-oriented as our competitors and it continues to be successful. The result has been significant improvement in our sales trends during the last three quarters, with comparable store sales declining 23% in the first quarter, 12% in the second quarter and only 2% in the third quarter. Momentum accelerated throughout the third quarter, with comparable store sales increasing 11% for the month of October,” said Michael Rayden, Tween Brands chairman and chief executive officer.

“We continue to increase our share of the 7-14 Tween Girl apparel market and this has helped us significantly improve comparable store sales in the current economy. This momentum, along with the proposed merger with Dress Barn, which our stockholders are scheduled to vote on next week, has us very energized as we look forward to the future,” said Rayden.

Quarter Performance Analysis

Net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 increased 2.0% to $259.3 million compared to $254.3 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2008, driven predominantly by a 35% increase in on-line, direct-to-customer sales, partially offset by the 2% decline in comparable store sales. The comparable store sales decline is primarily attributable to the 2008 strong performance associated with Webkinz™. Webkinz™ had a negative 4% impact on comparable store sales during the third quarter of 2009.

Gross income for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 totaled $92.9 million, or 35.9% of net sales. This compares to third quarter 2008 gross income of $85.6 million, or 33.7% of net sales. The year-over-year increase as a percentage of net sales was primarily due to successfully leveraging the $3.3 million reduction in buying and occupancy expense. This reduction in buying and occupancy expense includes the impact of the $3.9 million pretax store impairment charge recognized during the quarter.

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