Ascena announces holiday sales results, replaces Lane Bryant president
Ascena Retail Group announced its holiday results with quarterly comp sales down 3%. Teen retailer Justice was the only brand that posted positive comps, up 4%. The company has, however, reaffirmed its 2018 forecast.
David Jaffe, Chief Executive Officer commented in a release, “While holiday performance was mixed across our brand portfolio, we were pleased with the continued comp acceleration at Justice, along with the significant trend improvement at both Loft and Lane Bryant, which were five points better than the prior quarter."
Loft showed 1% decline in comp sales while Lane Bryant comp sales remained flat. Plus fashion brand Catherines dropped 7% and Ann Taylor dropped 6%.
Ascena's value fashion segment, comprised of Maurice's and Dressbarn, showed the weakest performance. Maurice's comp sales were down 6% and Dressbarn's were down 13%. The total segment fell 9%.
Jaffe noted that the company is "aggressively addressing merchandising issues at Dressbarn", stating that the company expects to see improvement in the Spring season.
Despite the decline in comp sales, Ascena is reaffirming its Q2 earnings guide which already forecast a loss per share.
To help give its plus-size business a boost, Ascena also announced that it had appointed Eric Hunter as the new plus-size segment president. In his new role he will lead the Lane Bryant, Catherines and Cacique brands.
Hunter was most recently the EVP of Marketing for Pier 1 Imports and has a heavily consumer-focused marketing background. He was SVP at JC Penney and acting Chief Marketing Officer, and was also a CMO and Group President at Kellwood Company.
Gary Muto, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ascena Brands said, "Eric’s broad experience and focus on the customer makes him well-equipped to take on this essential leadership position."
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