Net sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 at Ascena Retail Group, were 1,454 million dollars compared to 1,520 million dollars in the year-ago period, reflecting flat comparable sales for the quarter and the unfavourable impact resulting from the 53rd week recorded in the prior fiscal year. The company said in a statement that gross margin decreased to 789 million dollars or 54.3 percent of sales, while net loss from continuing operations was 420 million dollars or 2.12 dollars per diluted share compared to net income from continuing operations of 16 million dollars or 8 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago period.
Commenting on the fourth quarter results, Gary Muto, the company’s Chief Executive Officer said: “We were pleased to have exceeded our adjusted operating income expectations for the fourth quarter through better than expected comparable sales results and lower operating expenses. Looking ahead, by shifting our focus to our brands and right-sizing our cost structure, we plan to capitalize on the meaningful and differentiated presence our brands have in the marketplace.”
Ascena provides first quarter outlook
Operating loss for the fourth quarter was 354 million dollars compared to operating income of 32 million dollars in the year-ago period.
The company added that due to volatility expected in total consolidated results related to the ongoing wind-down of its Dressbarn brand, Ascena expects first quarter net sales for the consolidated continuing operations of the Premium Fashion, Plus Fashion, and Kids Fashion segments to range between 1.100 to 1.125 billion dollars; comparable sales of negative low single digits; gross margin rate of 59.3 percent to 59.8 percent and adjusted operating income of 15 million dollars to 35 million dollars.