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Ascena Retail Q4 profit falls, but beats Street


Suffern, N.Y. -- Ascena Retail's net income plunged 94% 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.

Ascena, owners of the Dressbarn, Maurices and Justice, announced in May that it was buying Charming Shoppes, whose divisions include Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherines Plus for approximately $890 million. Ascena is in the process of closing Fashion Bug's stores.

Ascena reported that it earned $1.6 million for the period ended July 28, down from $28.2 million a year earlier.

Net sales 29% to $939.7 million from $725.8 million, driven by online sales and sales from new stores, easily beating Wall Street projections of $781.7 million.

Same-store sales rose 3%, not including online sales, which increased 49% to $39 million, excluding Charming's results.

By brand, sales were strongest at Justice, where revenue at stores open at least a year climbed 5%.

The company plans to open approximately 180 to 200 stores and close 100 to 120 stores, ending the fiscal year with about 3,900 Justice, Lane Bryant, Maurices, Dressbarn and Catherines stores.

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