Ascena Retail 4Q net falls, but beats Street view

Associated Press Published: September 19, 2012

SUFFERN, N.Y. (AP) — Ascena Retail's net income tumbled 94 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter, dragged down by costs related to its acquisition of Charming Shoppes Inc.

Its adjusted earnings topped Wall Street's view, but its earnings forecast for fiscal 2013 suggested that it could fall short of analysts' estimates. Its shares slipped in premarket trading.

The owner of the Dressbarn, Maurices and Justice brands had announced in May that it was buying the owner of Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines Plus for approximately $890 million so that it could gain access to the large-size women's clothing market. Ascena is in the process of closing Fashion Bug's stores.

Ascena Retail Group Inc. reported on Wednesday that it earned $1.6 million, or 1 cent per share, for the period ended July 28, down from $28.2 million, or 18 cents per share, a year earlier.

Income from continuing operations fell to $11.2 million, or 7 cents per share, from $28.2 million, or 18 cents per share.

Stripping out the impact of the Charming buyout, earnings from continuing operations rose to 31 cents per share.

Analysts expected earnings of 29 cents per share, according to a FactSet survey. The estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Revenue rose 30 percent to $939.7 million from $725.8 million, driven by online sales and sales from new stores. Wall Street forecast $781.7 million.

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