Shares of Ascena Retail Group Inc. fell nearly 24% in late trading Monday after the parent of Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, and other apparel retailers reported adjusted earnings well below Wall Street expectations and also missed sales expectations. Ascena said it earned 7 cents a share in the fiscal fourth quarter, versus a loss of $1.98 a share in the year-ago period. Adjusted for one-time items, the company earned 8 cents a share in the quarter. Net sales reached $1.8 billion, compared with $1.2 billion a year ago, mostly due to the acquisition of Ann Taylor. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted earnings of 16 cents a share on sales of $1.7 billion. Shares had ended the regular trading session up 1.9%.
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