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Ascena Retail banks on omnichannel following ‘mixed’ Q4 results


Following fourth quarter results that missed Wall Street expectations, Ascena Retail is looking ahead to fiscal 2015, which CEO David Jaffe said will see the continuation of a critical, multi-year investment to build the company’s omnichannel platform.

The company reported net earnings of $15.7 million, compared with $29.8 million in the year-ago period.

Revenues for the quarter were $1.18 billion, compared with $1.20 billion in the prior year. The company attributed the decrease challenging tween market conditions at Justice and inventory-related issues at Lane Bryant. Results were partially offset by positive comp growth at Maurices and Catherines and new store growth at Maurices. Total same-store sales decreased 2%.

“Despite mixed results across our portfolio and continuing soft traffic patterns, fourth quarter EPS was in line with our expectations. We have yet to see sustained evidence of market improvement, and as a result, are maintaining a conservative outlook as we enter the fall season," said Jaffe. “We continue to focus on controlling what we can control — refining our merchandising execution, maintaining focus on inventory levels and expense management, developing an integrated ecommerce platform for our customers, and driving efficiency improvements through our strategic investments. Our final brand is in the process of moving into our retail distribution center in Ohio, and we remain on track to have all our brands operating out of our new ecommerce fulfillment center by spring of calendar 2015. We continue to create a business model that will drive sustainable long term value for our shareholders.”

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