US-based specialty apparel retailer Ascena Retail Group posted a 29% rise in its net sales to $939.7m in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.
The rise in net sales was due to strong growth in sales from new stores and via its e-commerce platform, as well as an overall comparable store sales increase of 2%, led by its brand, Justice at 5%.
Gross margin for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2012 increased 53.4% to $501.6m, compared to $400.2m is the same period last year.
Occupancy, distribution and buying costs (‘B&O’) expenses were $156.9m, or 16.7%, compared to $121.4m, or 16.7% of sales last year.
Selling, general and administrative (‘SG&A’) expenses for the period were $281.7m, compared to $200.4m in 2011.
Net income for the period ending 28 July 2012 totaled $1.6m while income from continuing operations for the quarter fell to $11.2m from $28.2m in the prior year. Net income for the period totaled $1.6m.
Ascena’s net sales for the fiscal 2012 increased 15% to $3.4bn, compared to $2.9bn last year.
The increase is due to a 5% comparable store sales increase, led by Justice at 8%, and strong growth in sales from new stores and e-commerce.
Gross margin for fiscal 2012 increased 56% to $1.9bn, compared to $1.7bn last year. B&O expenses for fiscal 2012 were $542.3m while SG&A expenses were $936.3m.
Operating income for the period ending 28 July 2012 increased 8.7% to $292.6m, compared to $289.8m of last year. Net income for fiscal 2012 was $162.2m, compared to $170.5m a year ago.
E-commerce sales increased 54% to $160m, compared to last year.
For fiscal 2013, the company plans to open approximately 180 to 200 stores and close 100 to 120 stores.
Ascena Retail Group is a leading specialty retailer offering clothing, shoes, and accessories for missy and plus-size women and tween girls, under the Justice, Lane Bryant, maurices, dressbarn and Catherines brands.
The retailer operates approximately 3,800 stores through its subsidiaries throughout the US, Puerto Rico and Canada.