• Net income increased 26% to $40.7m
  • Sales grew 8.6% to $612.5m 
  • Comparable sales rose 5.5%

US clothing retailer Ann Inc saw third quarter net profit rise on higher sales and rising gross margins.

The company said net income rose 26% to reach US$40.7m over the quarter ended 27 October, up from $32.2m in the same period of the prior year.

Sales grew 8.6% to $612.5m over the quarter, with comparable sales rising 5.5%. Net sales across the Ann Taylor brand grew 6.4% to reach $244.6m, as comparable sales increased 4.3%. Loft sales grew 10% to $368m, while comparable sales increased 6.2%.

Gross margin improved to 57.9% from 57.5% in the same period of the prior year, which the company attributed to favourable customer response to its products and lower promotional activity.

The company also raised its full year forecasts, expecting sales to reach US$2.395bn, up from $2.385bn previously.

"At the Ann Taylor brand, performance accelerated significantly from the first quarter, reflecting stronger sales and profitability, including positive comps in the Ann Taylor stores channel and continued profitable growth in the e-commerce and factory outlet channels," said president and CEO Kay Krill.

"Loft also delivered excellent sales and profitability results, including strong margin and continued solid comp growth on top of last year's double-digit increase.

"Clearly, our performance at both brands demonstrated strong product acceptance driven by the successful delivery of compelling fashion, excellent quality, outstanding value and an engaging shopping experience, in store and online."