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Specialty retailer AnnTaylor reports fairly high October sales

Nov '05
Women's fashion specialty retailer AnnTaylor Stores Corporation announced that total net sales for the four-week period ended October 29, 2005 increased 11.7 percent to $175,875,000 over total net sales of $157,387,000 for the four-week period ended October 30, 2004. By division, net sales were $72,874,000 for Ann Taylor compared to $70,710,000 last year, and $85,959,000 for Ann Taylor LOFT compared to $71,064,000 last year.

Comparable store sales for the period increased 1.2 percent compared to a comparable store sales increase of 6.2 percent for the same four-week period last year. By division, comparable store sales for fiscal October 2005 were up 2.2 percent for Ann Taylor compared to a 0.4 percent decrease last year, and up 1.7 percent for Ann Taylor LOFT compared to a 13.1 percent increase last year.

Kay Krill, President & Chief Executive Officer of Ann Taylor, stated, 'At the Ann Taylor division, October marked the third consecutive month they delivered positive comparable store sales, as they continued to offer wardrobable, brand- appropriate merchandise to their clients. LOFT also produced positive comparable store sales with their client responding favorably to the October store set. Comparable store sales by region for both divisions were generally flat to high single-digit positive, with the exception of the Southeast which was affected by Hurricane Wilma.'

Krill continued, 'During the quarter, they saw improvement in their gross margin rate and achieved greater leverage on selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales. While there are currently many uncertainties surrounding the retail and macroeconomic environment, based on their sales and margins to date they are comfortable with their previous guidance of earnings per diluted share of $1.17 for fiscal 2005.'

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