Ann Profit, Sales Hit By Weak Traffic, West Coast Port Strike

Ann Inc. said it had net income of $29.9 million, or 65 cents a share, in its fiscal third quarter, down from $41.2 million, or 89 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. The owner of Ann Taylor and Loft stores said per-share earnings excluding a charge stemming from the closure of its Ann Taylor Madison Avenue store came to 72 cents, ahead of the FactSet consensus of 64 cents. Sales fell to $646.8 million from $657.5 million, but were ahead of the FactSet consensus of $649 million. But same-store sales fell 4.3% and were down 6.6% at Ann Taylor. "Our performance reflected weak traffic across the industry, a highly promotional retail environment and the impact of labor uncertainty at the West Coast ports, which resulted in product shipment delays in the first half of the quarter and higher air freight expense later in the period," Chief Executive Kay Krill said in a statement. Ann is now expecting fourth-quarter sales of $630 million, slightly below the consensus of $631 million, and a same-store sales decline in the low-single digits. Shares were not yet active in premarket trade, but are up about 5% in the year so far, while the S&P 500 has gained about 11%.

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