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Ascena grows e-commerce 13% in fiscal 2014

October 1, 2014 12:17 PM
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Apparel chain retailer Ascena Retail Group Inc. ended its 2014 fiscal year with a decent increase in web sales. But more important, Ascena, which owns and operates such retail brands as Justice, Lane Bryant, Maurices, Dressbarn and Catherines, also continued to shake up its e-commerce program by taking more of its fulfillment operation in-house and hired a new e-commerce executive for Maurices.

For the 2014 fiscal year ended July 26, Ascena, No. 86 in the Internet Retailer 2014 Top 500 Guide, reported:

  • E-commerce represented 10% of total sales compared with 9% in fiscal 2013. Based on those metrics, Internet Retailer estimates that e-commerce grew 13.0% to $479.0 million from $423.9 million in fiscal 2013.
  • Total sales increased 1.7% to $4.79 billion from $4.71 billion.
  • The company did not break out comparable-store sales.
  • Net income decreased 11.8% to $133.4 million from $151.3 million.

Over the course of fiscal 2014 Ascena began consolidating more of its e-commerce fulfillment operation at a central hub in Greencastle, IN. “Lane Bryant and Catherines have transitioned e-commerce fulfillment operations, with our remaining three brands on schedule to be moved over in spring of 2015,” CEO David Jaffe told Wall Street analysts on a recent year-end earnings call. “While traffic continues to be challenging, we continue to focus on controlling what we can control,” Jaffe told analysts according to a transcript of the call by Seeking Alpha.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, Ascena reported:

  • E-commerce represented 10% of total sales compared with 9% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013. Based on those metrics, Internet Retailer estimates that e-commerce grew 9.3% to $118 million from $108 million in fiscal 2013.
  • Total sales decreased 1.7% to $1.18 billion from $1.20 billion.
  • Comparable-store sales decreased 2%.
  • Net income decreased 47.3% to $15.7 million from $29.8 million.

“Partially offsetting the challenging market environment was another strong quarter of e-commerce sales,” Jaffe told analysts. “We are continuing to explore customer response to new promotions, including flat rate and free shipping with purchase threshold.”

In September Ascena hired Ali Wing as chief marketing officer and executive vice president of digital commerce for Maurices. Wing joins Maurices after 10 years as CEO and founder of Giggle, a multichannel retailer, wholesaler and licenser of baby products.

 

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