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Ascena Retail net sales down 4.3% to $1,454 mn in Q4

Oct '19
Pic: Ascena Retail
Pic: Ascena Retail
Net sales for Ascena Retail Group for Q4 of fiscal 2019 ending August 3, 2019, were $1,454 million compared to $1,520 million in Q4 of FY2018. Net sales reflected flat comparable sales for Q4 and unfavorable impact resulting from 53rd week recorded in prior fiscal year. Gross margin decreased to $789 million in Q4 compared to $882 million in year-ago period.

"We made pivotal changes in the back half of fiscal 2019 as we exited our Value Fashion segment to focus on our brands where we see the biggest profitability potential. Our board and executive team continue to actively assess the portfolio as we remain laser focused on our key objective of returning to sustainable growth, improving operating margins and optimising our capital structure as we remain committed to enhancing shareholder value," said Carrie Teffner, interim executive chair of Ascena.

"We were pleased to have exceeded our adjusted operating income expectations for the fourth quarter through better than expected comparable sales results and lower operating expenses. In addition, we ended the quarter with a strong cash and liquidity position with no borrowings under our credit facility," said Gary Muto, chief executive officer of Ascena.

"Looking ahead, by shifting our focus to our brands and right-sizing our cost structure, we plan to capitalise on the meaningful and differentiated presence our brands have in the marketplace. We are evolving our merchandising strategy to incorporate greater versatility in our assortment while maintaining flexibility to keep pace with her changing desires in order to deepen loyalty with existing customers, reengage lapsed customers and attract new customers. In addition, we are taking steps to enhance our cash position over the course of fiscal 2020 through a combination of cost saving initiatives, rationalization of our capital expenditures and disciplined working capital management. We are excited by the opportunities that lie ahead as we position ourselves to deliver long term profitable growth and enhance shareholder value," added Muto.

Ascena’s board of directors appointed two new independent directors, Gary Begeman and Paul Keglevic.

For the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, the company has provided guidance for the consolidated continuing operations of the Premium Fashion, Plus Fashion, and Kids Fashion segments. The net sales for the brands are expected to be in the range of $1.100-$1.125 billion and comparable sales in negative low single digits; Gross margin rate is expected to be from 59.3-59.8 per cent.

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October 2019

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