Revealing the depths of its difficulties, the Ascena Retail Group reported a net loss of $238 million, or $1.20 per diluted share, for its third fiscal quarter ended May 4, compared to a net loss of $40 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, in the year-ago period.
Excluding certain non-cash impairment charges and other items, the net loss for the quarter would have been $51 million, or $0.26 per share.
Net sales for the third quarter were $1.27 billion, flat versus the year-ago period. Comparable sales were also flat for the quarter.
Carrie Teffner, interim executive chair of Ascena, commented, “The board and management have been working together to transform the company and return Ascena to profitable and sustainable topline growth. Our focus has been, and will be, on creating value for our investors.
“As we work to transform and simplify the business, we have made meaningful progress on our comprehensive assessment of Ascena’s portfolio of brands,” Teffner added. With the successfully completed divestiture of Maurices and the announced wind down of our Dressbarn brand, we have essentially exited our value fashion segment, which has consistently underperformed expectations and generated substantial losses over the last two years. While we continue our portfolio assessment, we are focused on right sizing our corporate overhead structure to support a business with fewer, stronger brands that can deliver growth and profitability levels above the industry average.”
In May, Ascena said it decided to shut down its Dressbarn division, in a move representing the retail conglomerate’s most dramatic downsizing to date in its efforts to revive itself.
The decision came just three weeks after a management shakeup in which David Jaffe, chairman and chief executive officer of Ascena, said he had retired and that he had been succeeded by Gary Muto as ceo. Muto had been president and ceo of Ascena Brands, and second-in-command next to Jaffe.
Back in March, in another maneuver to improve the balance sheet, Ascena sold a majority stake in its Duluth, Minn.-based Maurices division to a subsidiary of British private equity firm OpCapita. The deal was valued at $300 million.
It’s likely that further restructurings will occur with the Ascena group, considering performances are mixed across the portfolio of brands.