Shares of Ann Inc. rallied 4.9% in premarket trade Friday, after the women's apparel retailer reported a surprise fiscal fourth-quarter profit, as both total sales and same-store sales beat expectations. For the quarter ended Feb. 1, net earnings came in at $262,000, or 1 cent a share, compared with $4.7 million, or 10 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring items, such as incremental airfreight costs associated with the West Coast port situation, earnings per share were 12 cents, compared with the FactSet consensus analyst estimate of a loss of 3 cents a share. Total sales rose to $647.4 million from $623.3 million, beating the FactSet consensus of $627 million. Same-store sales rose 1%, with Ann Taylor brand sales declining 0.4% and Loft brand sales rising 1.9%, all beating the FactSet consensus for declines of 1.8%, 3.6% and 2.4%, respectively. For the current quarter, the company expects total sales of $605 million, matching the FactSet consensus. The stock has gained 2.6% so far this year, compared with a 0.3% rise in the S&P 500.
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