Retailer Ann eliminating about 100 positions

AP News
Posted: Mar 14, 2014 9:10 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Ann Inc. is eliminating about 100 positions from its corporate workforce, the company announced Friday.

While the retailer, whose brands include Ann Taylor and Loft, provided a weaker-than-expected revenue outlook for the year, its earnings nearly doubled in the fourth quarter — a period that included the crucial holiday shopping season.

Shares edged higher in premarket trading.

A spokeswoman for Ann Inc. said that the 100 positions being eliminated are a combination of those held by employees and open positions, with most at its New York headquarters. The positions being eliminated represent about 10 percent of the company's corporate workforce.

Ann said its job cuts are part of a strategic realignment of its business that is expected to result in annual operating savings of about $25 million. The retailer expects about $15 million in savings for fiscal 2014. It anticipates an approximately $15 million restructuring charge related to the moves, with most of the charge coming in the first quarter.

For the three months that ended Feb. 1, Ann earned $4.7 million, or 10 cents per share. That compares with $2.4 million, or 5 cents per share, a year earlier.

The performance beat the 7 cents per share that analysts surveyed by FactSet expected.

Revenue rose 3 percent to $623.3 million from $607.7 million, but fell a bit short of Wall Street's $624 million estimate. Sales improved at Loft during the quarter, but softened at Ann Taylor.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of a retailer's health, rose 2.9 percent. This metric excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

Full-year net income dipped to $102.4 million, or $2.19 per share, from $102.6 million or $2.10 per share, in the previous year. The per-share discrepancy is a result of fewer shares outstanding in the latest year.

Annual revenue increased 5 percent to $2.49 billion from $2.38 billion.

Sales at stores open at least a year climbed 2.3 percent.

For the first quarter, Ann anticipates revenue will approach $600 million. It foresees full-year revenue of $2.62 billion. Analysts predict first-quarter revenue of $613.8 million and full-year revenue of $2.64 billion.

The New York company also promoted Gary Muto to president of Ann Inc. Brands. He will mostly concentrate on design, merchandising and marketing for Ann Taylor and Loft. Muto, who previously served as brand president of Loft, will report to President and CEO Kay Krill.

Ann had 1,025 Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory, Loft and Loft Outlet stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada at the quarter's end. Its stock gained 13 cents to $35 before the market opened Friday.