Ann Inc., after reporting net income rose 18.5 percent for 2012, said it expects 2013 to be another strong year.
Greater investments in its e-commerce business, international shipping and momentum with ongoing Ann Taylor remodels to a smaller, more productive format are seen fueling gains in 2013.
The company also plans to focus on “targeted” promotions while staging fewer storewide ones, and expand opening price points at Ann Taylor. For spring, Loft’s assortments have been reset with more neutrals and blacks after customers voted thumbs down on the colorful holiday assortment.
For the year ended Feb. 2, Ann earned $102.6 million compared with $86.6 million in 2011, and shares on a diluted basis rose to $2.10 from $1.64. The company had $167 million in cash at the end of the year and no debt. Sales were $2.4 billion, compared with $2.2 billion, while comparable-store sales rose 3.3 percent. The Ann Taylor division totaled $945.2 million in sales versus $907.9 million in fiscal 2011. The Loft division reached $1.43 billion in sales last year, compared with $1.3 billion in 2011.
Fourth-quarter profits rose to $2.37 million, or 5 cents a diluted share, from $2.18 million, or 4 cents. Total sales were $607.7 million, compared with $566.7 million in the 2011 quarter. Ann Taylor totaled $255 million in sales last quarter compared with $237.4 million in the year-ago quarter. Loft’s sales came to $352.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with $329.3 million in the year-ago quarter. Total company comps decreased 0.7 percent last quarter.
Despite concerns about payroll tax increases impacting consumer spending, officials remained bullish. “We have absolutely been noticing she has less disposable income. However, we are expecting positive comps in every quarter of the year,” Kay Krill, president and chief executive officer, said during Friday’s conference call on the results.
For the first quarter of fiscal year 2013, the company projects sales of $600 million, with comparable-store sales up in the low single digits. For the full year, the company projects sales of $2.57 billion, with comps in the mid-single digits.
Krill said 2012 marked the third consecutive year of positive comp sales and the fourth consecutive year of operating profit expansion, but the year wasn’t perfect due to Hurricane Sandy and overinvestments in color, leading to steep clearances in the fourth quarter. “Importantly, we’ve entered the spring season with clean, fresh inventories for both brands,” Krill said.
Last quarter, Ann Taylor comparable-store sales rose 1.4 percent, which includes a 5 percent rise at Ann Taylor and a 6.8 percent decline at the Ann Taylor Factory channel. At Loft, comps fell 2.1 percent, reflecting a decline of 1.2 percent at Loft and a decrease of 7.1 percent at Loft outlets.
Last year’s traffic at Ann Taylor and Loft outlets was “choppy” and the company did pull back on some inventory but will put more units and costs into the outlets this year to drive incremental growth. “We expect that channel to be a significant profit driver for 2013 and beyond.”
On Friday the company unveiled international shipping for anntaylor.com and loft.com. “We are pleased that we can now begin to meet the previously underserved demand for our brands from international visitors to our e-commerce Web sites,” Krill said. “Selling internationally through e-commerce will provide us with further insights to gauge future growth opportunities outside of the U.S.”
Ann is shipping to Canada, Australia, the U.K., Mexico, Japan and other countries in South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Ann Taylor and Loft are offering free shipping on international orders over $100 until March 17. In Canada the first three stores opened in Toronto last fall, and additional stores in the market are being sought.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews