Women's wear retailer AnnTaylor Stores Corporation today said total net June sales increased 9.6 per cent to $127.190 million, but that comparable store sales for the period decreased 1.2 per cent over last year.

By division, comparable store sales for fiscal June 2002 were down 1.4 per cent for the Ann Taylor division compared to a 16.1 per cent decrease last year, and down 0.6 per cent for the Ann Taylor Loft division compared to a 1.0 per cent decrease last year.

Ann Taylor chairman J Patrick Spainhour said: "We anticipate continued improvements in tops for the remainder of the year. All categories of tops, casual separates and footwear and accessories were standouts."

As a result the company raised its second quarter earnings guidance from $0.25-$0.27 to $0.29-$0.30.

For fiscal July, the company said it expects to achieve flat comparable store sales compared to last year and continues to expect inventory levels to be down 10-15 per cent for both the second quarter and for the full year, compared to last year.

the fiscal year-to-date period ended 6 July 2002, net sales totalled $587.91 million, up 10.4 per cent from $532.45m for the same period in 2001. Comparable stores sales for the fiscal year-to-date period dropped 1.3 per cent from the same period last year.