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ANN INC Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Let me provide some specifics. First, Ann Taylor. At the Ann Taylor brand, performance accelerated significantly from the first quarter, reflecting stronger sales and profitability in the stores channel and continued profitable growth in e-commerce and factory.

Comparable store sales for the brand increased 6%. By channel, this included positive comp sales of 3% at Ann Taylor stores, 29% in e-commerce and 2% at Ann Taylor Factory. We were especially pleased with the return to positive comps in the stores channel this quarter driven by the successful execution of our product, pricing and promotional strategies. In fact, this channel also delivered positive comp sales in every month of the quarter, with each month getting stronger.

As a reminder, we are highly focused on continuing to drive higher sales, productivity and profitability in the Ann Taylor stores channel by offering our client a broader assortment of relevant fashion, providing more selection in opening price points across every category, becoming more surgical in our promotional strategy, offering our full assortment in all stores across the chain and enhancing the in-store shopping experience.

During the quarter, we definitely benefited from our plan to offer her a much higher penetration of color and a greater investment in key categories that she wants, such as dresses, skirts and feminine tops. In addition, we are very encouraged by the response we're seeing to our new pricing strategy, which is designed to provide our client with an expanded selection of merchandise at opening and good price points and even greater value. For the second quarter, we increased the penetration of opening price points in key categories, and she definitely responded at full price.

We also made significant progress in scaling back on our promotions during the quarter, becoming much more surgical in our markdown strategies. We were able to execute a more targeted approach with less emphasis on storewide promotions. This enabled us to drive higher AURs and a much healthier full-price business while further reinforcing the aspirational nature of the Ann Taylor brand.

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