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Ann Inc. raises outlook on strong EPS performance

NEW YORK  — Ann Inc., the parent company of Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft stores, reported that for the fiscal first quarter of 2011, earnings per diluted share were 51 cents, compared with earnings per diluted share of 38 cents in the first quarter of 2010.

Kay Krill, president and CEO, commented, "Ann Inc. delivered a very strong first quarter performance, achieving significant double-digit growth in sales, earnings and earnings per share.  We are particularly gratified that this performance came on top of very strong results in last year's first quarter, as comparable sales for the Company rose 8% on top of last year's 14% increase, with both the Ann Taylor and Loft brands delivering positive comparable sales.  

"Looking ahead, and coming off of a very strong April in both brands, we fully expect to deliver positive comparable sales performance in both brands and across all channels for the second quarter.  We are also well-positioned to achieve continued profitable growth in 2011 and beyond."

Total net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2011 were $523.6 million, compared with net sales of $476.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2010.  By brand, net sales across all channels of the Ann Taylor brand totaled $222.9 million in the first quarter of 2011, compared with net sales of $198.4 million in the first quarter of 2010.  At the Loft brand, net sales across all channels totaled $300.8 million in the first quarter of 2011, compared with net sales of $277.8 million in the first quarter of 2010.

Total company comparable sales for the quarter increased 7.8% versus the first quarter of 2010.  At Ann Taylor, total brand comparable sales increased 15.3%, reflecting increases of 13.7% at Ann Taylor stores, 43.1% in the Ann Taylor e-commerce channel and 9.2% in the Ann Taylor Factory channel.  At Loft, total brand comparable sales were up 2.4%, reflecting a slight decrease of 1% at Loft stores, which was more than offset by increases of 32.8% in the Loft e-commerce channel and 15.7% in the Loft Outlet channel. 

During the first quarter of fiscal 2011, the company opened 32 stores, comprised of three Loft stores, 25 Loft Outlet stores, and four Ann Taylor Factory stores. During the quarter, the company closed five Loft stores. The total store count at the end of the fiscal first quarter was 923, comprised of 266 Ann Taylor stores, 500 Loft stores, 96 Ann Taylor Factory stores and 61 Loft Outlet stores.

For the fiscal second quarter of 2011, the company expects total net sales to be $550 million, reflecting a total company comparable sales increase in the mid-single digits.   

The company currently expects fiscal 2011 total net sales to approach $2.2 billion, reflecting a total Company comparable sales increase in the mid-single digits.

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