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AnnTaylor Stores reported Q1 net income fell 19% to $31.5 million, or $0.46/share, on sales growth of 4% to $580.3m, matching the Street's consensus estimate. The Company cited higher discounts on merchandise to clear inventory at Loft, its largest chain, for the drop in profit. AnnTaylor-ANN-chart-05-23-07 AnnTaylor said it "shares some of the current concerns regarding potential macroeconomic softening," but is confident in its ability to achieve its previously issued FY EPS guidance of $2.15 - $2.25. Analysts expect $2.18/share, on average. Shares of AnnTaylor were unchanged at $36.65 in thin pre-market trading. Same-store-sales for locations open more than a year fell 3.3%: -9.0% at Loft, +0.9% at Ann Taylor. The Loft division is expected to "be back on track" for the second half of the year. Full year same-store-sales are forecast in the low-single-digit range. AnnTaylor repurchased 4.2 million shares during the quarter, at an approximate cost of $163m.

Sources: Press release, Bloomberg, MarketWatch
Commentary: April Same-Store Sales RoundupMarch Same-Store Sales RoundupAnnTaylor: Weak Q4 Earnings, Strong Outlook
Stocks/ETFs to watch: AnnTaylor Stores Corp. (ANN). Competitors: Chico's FAS Inc. (CHS), Talbots Inc. (TLB), Guess? Inc. (GES), Liz Claiborne Inc. (LIZ), Gap Inc. (GPS)

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Source: AnnTaylor's Q1 Profit Down, In-line with Estimates, Reiterates FY Guidance