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ANN INC. Reports Third Quarter 2011 EPS of $0.61, an Increase of 49% over Third Quarter 2010
-- Total Company Sales Increase 12%; Comparable Sales Increase 6% --

NEW YORK, Nov. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- ANN INC. (NYSE: ANN) today reported results for the fiscal third quarter of 2011, ended October 29, 2011.  The Company also provided its outlook for the fourth quarter and full year of fiscal 2011.

For the fiscal third quarter of 2011, the Company reported earnings per diluted share of $0.61, compared with earnings per diluted share of $0.41 in the third quarter of 2010.

Kay Krill, President and CEO commented, "ANN INC. delivered another outstanding quarter, generating our fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit sales growth and our ninth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth in earnings and diluted earnings per share.  Looking ahead to the balance of the fiscal year, we are on track to achieve another year of significant growth in sales and earnings.  

"By brand, LOFT generated exceptional results, as compelling product and effective marketing drove significantly higher sales and profitability across all LOFT channels.  The Ann Taylor brand delivered solid performance, reflecting outstanding results in the e-commerce channel, solid performance in the factory channel and softer-than-expected sales in the stores channel."  

Fiscal 2011 Third Quarter Results

Total net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2011 were $564.0 million, compared with net sales of $505.3 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2010.  By brand, net sales across all channels of the Ann Taylor brand totaled $229.7 million in the third quarter of 2011, compared with net sales of $223.2 million in the third quarter of 2010.  At the LOFT brand, net sales across all channels were $334.3 million in the third quarter of 2011, compared with net sales of $282.1 million in the third quarter of 2010.

Total Company comparable sales for the quarter increased 5.5%, on top of an increase of 11.7% in the prior year.  At Ann Taylor, total brand comparable sales increased 2.5%, reflecting a decline of 5.8% at Ann Taylor stores, and increases of 45.8% in the Ann Taylor e-commerce channel and 1.8% in the Ann Taylor Factory channel.  At LOFT, total brand comparable sales were up 7.9%, reflecting increases of 5.9% at LOFT stores, 23.0% in the LOFT e-commerce channel and 10.9% in the LOFT Outlet channel. (Please refer to Table 3 for a breakdown of sales by brand and channel.)

Gross margin, as a percentage of net sales, was 57.5%, an increase of 30 basis points compared to the 57.2% gross margin rate achieved in the third quarter of 2010.  Our strong third quarter gross margin performance was primarily driven by improved product offerings and higher full-price selling at the LOFT brand, as well as the benefits realized from growth in the e-commerce and factory/outlet channels since the third quarter of 2010.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the third quarter of 2011 were $269.5 million, up 9% from $247.4 million in the third quarter of 2010, on a 12% increase in net sales. As a percentage of net sales, selling, general and administrative expenses declined 120 basis points to 47.8%, versus the prior year period.  This improvement in SG&A rate reflected substantially higher net sales and continued aggressive management of expenses, partially offset by costs associated with the Company's accelerated factory outlet strategy and an increase in variable costs associated with higher sales versus the 2010 period.  

During the third quarter of 2011, the Company did not incur any pre-tax restructuring charges, but did record pre-tax restructuring charges of $0.6 million in the third quarter of 2010.  On an after-tax basis, these third quarter 2010 charges totaled $0.3 million, or approximately $0.01 per diluted share.

The Company reported operating income of $54.7 million in the third quarter of 2011, an increase of 34.0% compared with operating income of $40.8 million in the third quarter of 2010.  Net income was $32.3 million in the third quarter of 2011, an increase of 33.4% versus the $24.2 million reported in the third quarter of 2010.  Diluted earnings per share were $0.61, an increase of 48.8% compared to the $0.41 per diluted share reported in the third quarter of 2010.  

The Company ended the quarter with approximately $140 million in cash and cash equivalents.  

Total inventory per square foot, excluding e-commerce, at the end of the third quarter was up 11% versus year-ago, reflecting increases of approximately 8% at Ann Taylor stores, 13% at LOFT stores and 10% in the factory outlet channel.

During the third quarter of 2011, the Company opened six new Ann Taylor stores, four new LOFT stores and two new LOFT Outlet stores.  The Company also closed two Ann Taylor stores and two LOFT stores.  The total store count at the end of the third quarter was 950, comprised of 276 Ann Taylor stores, 97 Ann Taylor Factory stores, 503 LOFT stores, and 74 LOFT Outlet stores. 

Fiscal 2011 Nine-Month Results

Net sales for the first nine months of fiscal 2011 were $1.6 billion, compared with net sales of $1.5 billion in the first nine months of fiscal 2010.  By brand, net sales across all channels of the Ann Taylor brand were $670.5 million in the first nine months of 2011, compared with net sales of $628.8 million in the first nine months of 2010.  At the LOFT brand, net sales across all channels were $975.3 million in the first nine months of 2011, compared with net sales of $836.1 million in the first nine months of 2010.

Total Company comparable sales for the first nine months of 2011 increased 7.3%, on top of an increase of 10.5% in the prior year.  At Ann Taylor, total brand comparable sales increased 7.5%, including increases of 2.6% at Ann Taylor stores, 41.1% in the Ann Taylor e-commerce channel and 5.8% in the Ann Taylor Factory channel.  At LOFT, total brand comparable sales increased by 7.1%, including an increase of 4.5% at LOFT stores, an increase of 29.0% in the LOFT e-commerce channel and a 16.3% increase in the LOFT Outlet channel.   (Please refer to Table 3 for a breakdown of sales by brand and channel.)

Gross margin, as a percentage of net sales, was 56.6%, compared to the 57.2% gross margin rate achieved in the first nine months of 2010.  

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the first nine months of 2011 were $788.7 million, versus $726.6 million in the first nine months of 2010. As a percentage of net sales, selling, general and administrative expenses declined 170 basis points versus the prior year to 47.9%.  The improvement in the SG&A rate reflected substantially higher net sales and continued aggressive management of expenses, partially offset by costs associated with the Company's accelerated factory outlet strategy and an increase in variable costs associated with higher sales versus the 2010 period.

During the first nine months of 2011, the Company did not record any restructuring charges, compared with pre-tax restructuring charges totaling $1.7 million in the first nine months of 2010.  On an after-tax basis, restructuring charges totaled $1.0 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, in the first nine months of 2010.

The Company reported operating income of $142.3 million in the first nine months of 2011, an increase of 30.1% compared with operating income of $109.4 million in the first nine months of 2010.  Net income was $84.4 million in the first nine months of 2011, an increase of 29.0% versus the $65.4 million reported in the first nine months of 2010.  Diluted earnings per share in the first nine months of 2011 were $1.58 per diluted share, an increase of 43.6% over the $1.10 per diluted share reported in the first nine months of 2010.  

Outlook for Fiscal Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2011

For the fiscal fourth quarter of 2011, the Company expects total net sales to be $580 million, reflecting mid-single digit comparable sales performance.  Gross margin rate performance is expected to approach 52%.  Selling, general and administrative expenses are estimated to approach $275 million, with the increase versus last year primarily reflecting support for the Company's strategic growth initiative to accelerate factory outlet expansion, an increased investment in marketing compared to the fourth quarter of 2010 and higher variable store operating costs to support planned top-line growth.

In terms of the full year, the Company has updated its outlook for fiscal 2011, as follows:

  • The Company currently expects fiscal 2011 total net sales to be approximately $2.225 billion, an increase of nearly $250 million, or 12%, versus fiscal 2010.  This reflects a total Company comparable sales increase in the mid-single digits.

  • Gross margin rate performance is expected to approach 55.5%.

  • Selling, general and administrative expenses are expected to be approximately 48% of net sales, reflecting leverage of more than 150 basis points, as a result of continued disciplined expense management and expected sales growth versus fiscal 2010.  Total SG&A expenses in fiscal 2011 are expected to approach $1.065 billion, compared with $979 million in fiscal 2010.  The overall increase primarily reflects support for the Company's 2011 strategic growth initiatives, as follows:  
    • Approximately $35 million of incremental expense associated with the opening of 45 factory outlet locations in fiscal 2011, as well as the full year impact in 2011 of the 2010 LOFT Outlet openings;
    • $25 million in variable store operating costs to support sales growth at the Ann Taylor and LOFT brands;
    • $15 million in incremental brand marketing investment to drive traffic growth to all channels, as well as continued investment in our high growth e-commerce business, and;
    • $5 million associated with reinstatement of the Company's 401k match and $5 million associated with merit increases.

  • The Company's effective tax rate is expected to be approximately 40%.
  • Capital expenditures are expected to be approximately $125 million, reflecting investments of approximately:
    • $55 million in support of approximately 75 new stores for both brands;
    • $25 million to support approximately 30 downsizes and remodels, largely associated with the accelerated conversion of select Ann Taylor stores to the new, more productive, smaller store format;
    • $20 million for store renovation and refurbishment programs, primarily for LOFT stores, and;
    • $25 million to support continued investment in information technology and our high-growth e-commerce channel.
  • Total weighted average square footage for fiscal 2011 is expected to increase approximately 4% by year-end, reflecting the opening of approximately 75 new stores, partially offset by approximately 20 store closures and the impact of downsizes.  The Company expects to have approximately 950 stores at fiscal year-end, and,
  • The Company expects to maintain its healthy balance sheet, including a disciplined approach to inventory management.  The Company also anticipates ending the fiscal year with an increase in total inventory per square foot, excluding e-commerce, in the mid-single digits, in line with comparable sales expectations.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  The forward-looking statements may use the words "expect," "anticipate," "plan," "intend," "project," "may," "believe" and similar expressions.  Forward-looking statements also include representations of the expectations or beliefs of the Company concerning future events that involve risks and uncertainties, including:

  • the Company's ability to anticipate and respond to changing client preferences and fashion trends and provide a balanced assortment of merchandise that satisfies client demands in a timely manner;
  • the effectiveness of the Company's brand awareness and marketing programs, and its ability to maintain the value of its brands;
  • the Company's ability to manage inventory levels and changes in merchandise mix;
  • the Company's ability to successfully upgrade and maintain its information systems, including adequate system security controls, successful transitioning of certain information technology functions to third parties and the ability to operate in accordance with its business continuity plan in the event of a disruption;
  • the performance and operation of the Company's websites and the risks associated with Internet sales;
  • the impact of fluctuations in sourcing costs, particularly increases in the costs of raw materials, labor, fuel and transportation;
  • the Company's reliance on third-party manufacturers and key vendors, including operational risks such as reduced production capacity, errors in complying with merchandise specifications, insufficient quality control and failure to meet production deadlines;
  • the depressed levels of consumer spending and consumer confidence resulting from the worldwide economic downturn and financial crisis;
  • the Company's reliance on key management and its ability to hire, retain and train qualified associates;
  • the Company's ability to successfully manage store growth and optimize the productivity and profitability of its store portfolio;
  • the Company's ability to secure and protect trademarks and other intellectual property rights;
  • the Company's reliance on foreign sources of production and the associated risks of doing business in foreign markets, including fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies, the imposition of duties or other possible trade law or import restrictions, including legislation relating to import quotas, and financial or political instability in any of the countries in which the Company's merchandise is manufactured;
  • the impact of a privacy breach and the resulting effect on the Company's business and reputation;
  • a significant change in the regulatory environment applicable to the Company's business and the Company's ability to comply with legal and regulatory requirements;
  • the Company's ability to successfully execute brand goals, objectives and new concepts;
  • the failure by independent manufacturers to comply with the Company's social compliance program requirements;
  • the effect of continued uncertainty in the global economy on the Company's liquidity and capital resources;
  • the Company's dependence on its Louisville distribution center and third-party transportation companies, including any significant interruptions due to work stoppages, slowdowns or strikes by employees of the transportation companies;
  • the effect of competitive pressures from other retailers;
  • the impact on the Company's stock price of fluctuations in the Company's level of sales and earnings growth;
  • acts of war or terrorism in the United States or worldwide, and the potential impact of natural disasters and public health concerns, including severe infectious diseases, particularly on the Company's foreign sourcing offices and the manufacturing operations of the Company's vendors;
  • the Company's ability to sustain the results of its recent restructuring program;
  • the Company's ability to realize its deferred tax assets;
  • the effect of external economic factors on the Company's future funding obligations for its defined benefit pension plan;
  • the Company's dependence on shopping malls and other retail centers to attract customers; and
  • the impact of potential consolidation of commercial and retail landlords on the Company's ability to negotiate favorable rental terms.

Further description of these risks and uncertainties and other important factors are set forth in the Company's latest Annual Report on Form 10-K, including but not limited to Item 1A – Risk Factors and Item 7 – Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations therein, and in the Company's other filings with the SEC.  Although these forward-looking statements reflect the Company's current expectations concerning future events, actual results may differ materially from current expectations or historical results.  The Company does not assume any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements at any time for any reason.  

ANN INC.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

For the Quarters and Nine Months Ended October 29, 2011 and October 30, 2010

(unaudited)

Table 1.



Quarter Ended


Nine Months Ended


October 29,


October 30,


October 29,


October 30,


2011


2010


2011


2010










(in thousands, except per share amounts)

















Net sales

$   564,003


$   505,281


$ 1,645,832


$ 1,464,934

Cost of sales

239,763


216,505


714,839


627,193

Gross margin

324,240


288,776


930,993


837,741

Selling, general and administrative expenses

269,498


247,381


788,656


726,601

Restructuring charges

-


550


-


1,693

Operating income

54,742


40,845


142,337


109,447

Interest income

97


245


430


582

Interest expense

541


369


1,352


1,254

Income before income taxes

54,298


40,721


141,415


108,775

Income tax provision

22,018


16,525


57,029


43,351

Net income

$     32,280


$     24,196


$       84,386


$       65,424









Earnings per share:








Basic earnings per share

$          0.62


$          0.41


$           1.61


$           1.11









Weighted average shares outstanding

51,389


57,467


51,583


57,630









Diluted earnings per share

$          0.61


$          0.41


$           1.58


$           1.10









Weighted average shares outstanding, assuming dilution

52,072


58,270


52,441


58,492











ANN INC.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

October 29, 2011, January 29, 2011 and October 30, 2010

(unaudited)

Table 2.



October 29,


January 29,


October 30,


2011


2011


2010

Assets

(in thousands, except share amounts)

Current assets






 Cash and cash equivalents

$   139,590


$   226,644


$   223,614

 Accounts receivable

31,132


17,501


28,578

 Merchandise inventories

278,174


193,625


231,953

 Refundable income taxes

25,953


26,631


31,363

 Deferred income taxes

29,742


28,145


27,244

 Prepaid expenses and other current assets

56,367


57,367


50,096

Total current assets

560,958


549,913


592,848

Property and equipment, net

363,901


332,489


333,772

Deferred income taxes

25,117


31,224


26,446

Other assets

12,447


13,194


11,471

Total assets

$   962,423


$   926,820


$   964,537







Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity






Current liabilities






 Accounts payable

$   107,499


$     97,330


$     90,964

 Accrued salaries and bonus

15,094


29,346


21,454

 Current portion of long-term performance compensation

19,383


-


-

 Accrued tenancy

41,938


42,620


46,785

 Gift certificates and merchandise credits redeemable

37,643


49,103


36,177

 Accrued expenses and other current liabilities

79,966


63,509


74,204

Total current liabilities

301,523


281,908


269,584

Deferred lease costs

164,558


165,321


164,861

Deferred income taxes

575


850


1,000

Long-term performance compensation, less current portion

36,484


32,299


24,205

Other liabilities

23,215


22,997


22,577







Commitments and contingencies












Stockholders' equity






 Common stock, $.0068 par value; 200,000,000 shares






  authorized;  82,563,516, 82,554,516 and 82,554,516






  shares issued, respectively

561


561


561

 Additional paid-in capital

806,837


801,140


793,408

 Retained earnings

572,077


487,691


479,718

 Accumulated other comprehensive loss

(2,284)


(2,378)


(3,741)

 Treasury stock, 30,190,855, 27,205,853  and






  24,584,175 shares, respectively, at cost

(941,123)


(863,569)


(787,636)

       Total stockholders' equity

436,068


423,445


482,310

       Total liabilities and stockholders' equity

$   962,423


$   926,820


$   964,537





















ANN INC.

Brand Sales and Store Data

For the Quarters and Nine Months Ended October 29, 2011 and October 30, 2010

(unaudited)

Table 3.



Quarter Ended


Sales and Comps

October 29, 2011



October 30, 2010



Sales


Comp % (1)



Sales


Comp % (1)



($ in thousands)


Ann Taylor brand










Ann Taylor Stores

$   121,280


(5.8)

%


$   128,505


23.4

%

Ann Taylor e-commerce

34,617


45.8

%


24,122


57.0

%

Subtotal

155,897


2.8

%


152,627


27.7

%

Ann Taylor Factory

73,816


1.8

%


70,576


11.3

%

Total Ann Taylor brand

$   229,713


2.5

%


$   223,203


21.9

%











LOFT brand










LOFT Stores

$   248,532


5.9

%


$   233,356


(0.6)

%

LOFT e-commerce

32,758


23.0

%


26,670


64.6

%

Subtotal

281,290


7.7

%


260,026


3.6

%

LOFT Outlet

53,000


10.9

%


22,052


22.0

%

Total LOFT brand

$   334,290


7.9

%


$   282,078


4.5

%











Total Company

$   564,003


5.5

%


$   505,281


11.7

%






















Nine Months Ended


Sales and Comps

October 29, 2011



October 30, 2010



Sales


Comp % (1)



Sales


Comp % (1)



($ in thousands)


Ann Taylor brand










Ann Taylor Stores

$    363,956


2.6

%


$    362,011


19.4

%

Ann Taylor e-commerce

86,675


41.1

%


62,426


46.0

%

Subtotal

450,631


8.4

%


424,437


22.6

%

Ann Taylor Factory

219,854


5.8

%


204,366


9.3

%

Total Ann Taylor brand

$    670,485


7.5

%


$    628,803


17.9

%











LOFT brand










LOFT Stores

$    748,106


4.5

%


$    719,360


1.6

%

LOFT e-commerce

84,918


29.0

%


66,586


60.3

%

Subtotal

833,024


6.5

%


785,946


4.8

%

LOFT Outlet

142,323


16.3

%


50,185


19.3

%

Total LOFT brand

$    975,347


7.1

%


$    836,131


5.4

%











Total Company

$ 1,645,832


7.3

%


$ 1,464,934


10.5

%











(1) A store is included in comparable sales in its thirteenth month of operation. A store with a square

      footage change of greater than 15% is treated as a new store for the first year following its reopening.




ANN INC.

Brand Sales and Store Data

For the Quarters and Nine Months Ended October 29, 2011 and October 30, 2010

(unaudited)


Table 3. (Continued)





Quarter Ended

Stores and Square Footage

October 29, 2011



October 30, 2010


Stores


Square Feet



Stores


Square Feet


(square feet in thousands)

Ann Taylor brand









    Ann Taylor Stores

276


1,448



276


1,501

    Ann Taylor Factory

97


691



92


668

Total Ann Taylor brand

373


2,139



368


2,169










LOFT brand









    LOFT Stores

503


2,931



506


2,954

    LOFT Outlet

74


519



33


217

Total LOFT brand

577


3,450



539


3,171










Total Company

950


5,589



907


5,340










Number Of:









   Stores open at beginning of period

942


5,563



894


5,265

   New stores

12


60



16


93

   Downsized stores (2)

-


(12)



-


(6)

   Closed stores

(4)


(22)



(3)


(12)

   Stores open at end of period

950


5,589



907


5,340

   Converted stores (3)

-


-



4


-











Nine Months Ended

Stores and Square Footage

October 29, 2011



October 30, 2010


Stores


Square Feet



Stores


Square Feet


(square feet in thousands)

Number Of:









   Stores open at beginning of period

896


5,283



907


5,348

   New stores

68


436



16


93

   Downsized stores (4)

-


(51)



-


(11)

   Closed stores

(14)


(79)



(16)


(90)

   Stores open at end of period

950


5,589



907


5,340

   Converted stores (5)

-


-



10


-



(2)  During the quarter ended October 29, 2011, the Company downsized two Ann Taylor stores.  During the quarter ended

       October 30, 2010, the Company downsized two Ann Taylor stores.


(3)  During the quarter ended October 30, 2010, the Company converted four LOFT stores to LOFT Outlet stores.


(4)  During the nine months ended October 29, 2011, the Company downsized nine Ann Taylor stores and two Ann Taylor

       Factory stores. During the nine months ended October 30, 2010, the Company downsized five Ann Taylor stores

       and one LOFT store.


(5)  During the nine months ended October 30, 2010, the Company converted six Ann Taylor stores to LOFT stores and

       four LOFT stores to LOFT Outlet stores.




About ANN INC.

ANN INC. is the parent Company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, two of the leading women's specialty retail fashion brands in the United States.  The Company operates 950 Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory, LOFT and LOFT Outlet stores in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as of October 29, 2011, as well as online at AnnTaylor.com and LOFT.com.  Visit ANNINC.com for more information (NYSE: ANN).

SOURCE ANN INC.

Investor Contact: Judith Lord, Vice President, Investor Relations, ANN INC., +1-212-541-3300 ext. 3598, Press Contact: Catherine Fisher, Vice President, Corporate Communications, ANN INC., +1-212-541-3300 ext. 2199