Before turning it over to Kay, we would like to remind you that our discussion this morning includes forward-looking statements which are subject to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements reflect the company's current expectations as of August 17, 2012, concerning future events and are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially.
And with that, I'd like to hand it over to Kay.
Katherine Lawther Krill
Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us to review ANN INC.'s results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012. We are extremely pleased with our record EPS results this quarter. Our outstanding performance reflected positive sales momentum at both brands and a record gross margin rate for the quarter.Diluted earnings per share for the quarter increased 34% to $0.63, reflecting significant acceleration at the Ann Taylor brand and continued momentum and strength at the LOFT brand. Operating income increased 27% versus the second quarter of 2011. On the top line, total sales for the quarter reached $595 million, up 7% from the year-ago period. Comparable sales for this company rose 5%, driven by positive comps at Ann Taylor and LOFT in all channels. In fact, comps at both brands strengthened in each month of the quarter. Our gross margin rate reached a record 56%, significantly higher than our earlier outlook and was driven by strong client response to our product and less promotional activity at both brands. Based on our outstanding results for the quarter, we are increasing our outlook for the full fiscal year, as Mike will discuss in his remarks. Our confidence going forward is supported by the success we're achieving in connecting with our client at both brands. Clearly, our results demonstrate that we are providing her with compelling fashion, excellent quality, outstanding value and a more engaging shopping experience in-store and online.