NEW YORK--Ann Taylor Stores Corp., citing strong full-price sales and better expense leverage, reported third-quarter earnings nearly doubled to $8.3 million, or 35 cents a share, from $4.3 million, or 20 cents, a year ago. In the quarter ended Oct. 29, sales climbed 34.9 percent to $164.6 million from $122 million, with same-store sales advancing 13.9 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales declined to 33.3 percent from 34.3 percent. In the nine months, earnings before a special charge more than doubled to $24.3 million, or $1.05 a share, from $11.2 million, or 51 cents. A charge of $868,000 in the latest period and $10.5 million in the year-earlier period for debt refinancing reduced net income to $23.4 million, or $1.01 per share, in the latest nine months and $745,000, or 3 cents, a year ago. In the nine months, sales jumped 28 percent to $469.9 million from $367 million. At the end of the quarter, inventories were up 66 percent to $104.3 million from $62.8 million. On a per-square-foot basis, inventories were up 31 percent from a year ago. --Fairchild News Service
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"