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Ascena Retail (ASNA) Cuts 2013 Profit View On Lower Holiday Sales; Shares Off

 January 10, 2013 08:11 AM

(By Balaseshan) Ascena Retail Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA) has lowered earnings guidance for the fiscal 2013 due to lower than planned Holiday sales for the combined November and December period, sending its shares down 8.94% in premarket.

Combined comparable store and e-commerce sales increased 1% on a consolidated basis for the combined November and December months. Total comparable store sales decreased 2%, while e-commerce sales jumped 30%.

Following lower than planned Holiday sales, the company cut its adjusted earnings guidance for the fiscal 2013 to range of $1.20 to $1.30 per share from previous forecast of $1.45 to $1.55 per share, while Street predicts $1.53 per share.

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Further, the company said its outlook is based spring season comparable store sales growth 3% to 5% and e-commerce sales increases of about 25%.

For the full year, the company still anticipates to open about 200 stores and close about 125 stores, ending the year with about 3,900 Justice, Lane Bryant, maurices, dressbarn and Catherines stores in operation.

On Tuesday, the company said Dirk Montgomery has accepted the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective January 16, succeeding Armand Correia, who will retire after 21 years.

Montgomery was most recently Executive Vice President and Chief Value Chain Officer of Bloomin' Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: BLMN), an operator of restaurant brands.

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ASNA closed Wednesday's regular session down 1.04% at $18.12. The stock has been trading between $16.58 and $22.62 for the past 52 weeks.

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