Ascena fell more than 7.3% to close at $3.02 Monday after the owner of Justice, Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lane Bryant retail chains said comparable sales during the holiday period came in at a moderate 3%, with declines in its "Plus" fashion segment offsetting gains in the "Premium" segment of its portfolio.
That is expected to translate into a loss of between 23 cents and 28 cents a share for the quarter, Ascena CEO David Jaffe said in a statement. The Mahwah, N.J.-based company previously forecast an adjusted loss in the range of 15 to 25 cents a share, and revenue in the range of $1.67 billion to $1.70 billion. Comparable sales were expected to increase 2%-4%.
"We are pleased to have delivered enterprise comp sales and margin growth over the holiday period, although we continue to strive for more balanced performance across our brands," Jaffe said, noting that slower Justice store traffic through the holiday period required "...aggressive clearance activity to address its highly seasonal specialty assortment prior to Christmas."
The company operates through four segments: Premium Fashion, Value Fashion, Plus Fashion and Kids Fashion. Its principal brands comprise Ann Taylor, LOFT, maurices, dressbarn, Lane Bryant, Catherines and Justice brands.