Ann Inc. promoted Brian Lynch to brand president of the Ann Taylor division, replacing Christine Beauchamp just as the company warned that weakness at the brand’s stores caused it to miss fourth-quarter expectations.

This story first appeared in the February 3, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Comparable sales at the Ann Taylor stores fell 11 percent in the fourth quarter as comps at the brand’s Web site rose 28 percent and the factory outlet’s comps increased 6 percent.

The firm’s total sales are expected to tally $566 million for the quarter, when analysts on average were looking for sales of $577.9 million. Investors drove the firm’s stock down 6.8 percent to $22.91 in trading Thursday.

“We are disappointed with our fourth-quarter results in the Ann Taylor stores channel, but are pleased that the brand’s online and factory channels continued to deliver strong results,” said Kay Krill, president and chief executive officer of the firm.

Lynch has been with the company since 2004 and was previously president of Ann Taylor Factory and the Loft outlets and led the e-commerce efforts of both brands. The company said Beauchamp left the firm to “pursue other opportunities.”

Ann also said it repurchased $3.1 million of its own shares during the quarter for about $75 million.

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