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Earnings Calls: 
Ann Taylor Stores First Quarter Earnings Call
Author: Maclintosh Kuhlengisa
Last Update: 6:32 PM EDT May 26 2008



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The womenís specialty retailer reported income of $28 million or 47 cents a share, down 20% from $35 million or 46 cents a share in 2007 due to weaker margins as net sales marginally improved to $592 million. Despite the highly promotional nature of the sector this quarter, Ann Taylor Stores successfully managed the business to deliver a gross margin that was only 40 basis points below a year ago and inventories that were significantly below a year ago.

Investors Question and Answers

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Kay Krill: We definitely have vacated the little girls, we have not done that for about a year and maternity is in very select stores and in the online business and we are still looking at the potential of that right now.

Michelle Tan (Goldman Sachs): On the online business, can you give a sense of where the penetration of that business is now?

Michael Nicholson: Internet is a very profitable business segment for us. Within the Ann Taylor division it represents about 10% of the total divisionís sales and something less than that for Loft.

The business has been growing over the last few years at double digit rates and we continue to believe that thatís an area we should continue to invest to not only drive new customers to the website but as well as an opportunity for us to communicate with our existing customer base.
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