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Ascena's comparable store sales increase 6%
26
May '11
Ascena Retail Group Inc reports sales and record earnings results for its fiscal third quarter and nine months ended April 30, 2011.

Fiscal Third Quarter Results

Net income for the fiscal third quarter increased 8% to $51.8 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, compared to net income of $48.0 million, or $0.59 per diluted share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2010.

Adjusted net income on a non-GAAP basis increased to $53.7 million, or $0.66 per diluted share, compared to net income for last year's third quarter of $49.0 million, or $0.60 per share. During the third quarter, the Company incurred a total of $3.1 million of pretax charges for certain items that management believes are not indicative of ongoing operations.

Net sales for the third quarter increased 9% to $722.8 million, compared to $665.5 million last year. The overall increase was primarily due to across-the-board increases in comparable store sales, as well as strong growth in e-commerce sales. The sales increase included a consolidated comparable store sales increase of 6% for the quarter compared to last year.

By division, net sales for dressbarn increased 5% to $255.4 million, compared to $242.5 million last year, with a comparable store sales increase of 4%. Net sales for maurices increased 17% to $208.2 million, compared to $177.9 million last year, with a comparable store sales increase of 11%. Net sales for Justice increased 6% to $259.2 million, compared to $245.1 million last year, with a comparable store sales increase of 3%.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the third quarter were $213.6 million, or 29.6% of sales, compared to $194.9 million, or 29.3% of sales last year. SG&A expenses on a non-GAAP basis were $210.8 million, or 29.2% of sales, compared to $193.3 million, or 29.0% of sales last year. The slight increase in SG&A as a percentage of sales was due in part to higher marketing costs as the Company continues to invest in its brands to drive customer traffic.

Operating income for the third quarter was $86.4 million, or 12.0% of sales, compared to $76.7 million, or 11.5% of sales last year. On a non-GAAP basis, operating income increased 14% to $89.5 million, or 12.4% of sales, compared to $78.3 million, or 11.8% of sales last year. The increase in operating income as a percentage of sales was due to a strong performance of all three brands, most notably maurices.

Fiscal Nine Month Results

Net income for the nine month period increased to $142.3 million, or $1.75 per diluted share, compared to net income of $91.4 million, or $1.19 per diluted share for the first nine months of fiscal 2010.

Adjusted net income on a non-GAAP basis increased to $150.2 million, or $1.85 per diluted share, compared to net income for the nine month period of fiscal 2010 of $102.1 million, or $1.33 per diluted share. During the first nine months of fiscal 2011, the Company incurred $12.7 million of pretax charges for certain items that management believes are not indicative of ongoing operations, compared to pretax charges of $16.7 million last year.

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