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Ascena Retail Group, Inc. Reports Third Quarter Results

Operating income for the third quarter of Fiscal 2012 decreased slightly to $85.3 million, or 10.9% of sales, compared to $86.4 million, or 12.0% of sales last year. The 110 basis point decrease in operating income as a percent of sales was due to a combination of a decrease in merchandise margin due to higher promotional markdowns, as well as the impact of higher SG&A expenses.

Fiscal Nine Month Results

Net income for the first nine-month period of Fiscal 2012 increased by 13% to $160.6 million, compared to net income of $142.3 million for the first nine months of Fiscal 2011. Earnings per share for the first nine-month period of Fiscal 2012 increased by 15% to $1.01 per diluted share, compared to $0.88 of earnings per diluted share for the first nine months of Fiscal 2011. This growth in net income and earnings per share for the first nine months of Fiscal 2012 was partially offset by the incurrence of the above-mentioned $6.8 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, of costs relating to the pending Charming Shoppes acquisition.

Net sales for the first nine-month period of Fiscal 2012 increased 10% to $2.4 billion, compared to $2.2 billion for last year’s first nine months. The overall increase was primarily due to a 6% comparable store sales increase, and strong growth in sales from new stores and e-commerce . E-commerce sales increased 55% to $121 million versus last year. The Company’s comparable store sales and net sales by brand for the first nine months were as follows:
Nine Months Sales (Unaudited)
        Net Sales (millions)

Comparable Store Sales

April 28, 2012

April 30, 2011
dressbarn 4 % $ 747.2 $ 707.2
maurices 2 % 651.4 593.5
Justice 9 %   1,015.0   887.5
Total Company 6 % $ 2,413.6 $ 2,188.2

SG&A expenses for the first nine-month period of Fiscal 2012 were $685.5 million, or 28.4% of sales, compared to $625.7 million, or 28.6% of sales last year. The 20 basis point improvement in SG&A expenses was primarily due to leverage on higher sales.

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