Women's wear retailer AnnTaylor Stores Corporation has reported mixed first quarter results, with poor sales at its Loft division pulling down profit by 19.2%.

Net income was $31.5m, or $0.46 per share, compared with $39.0m, or $0.53 per share, in the same period last year. Operating income fell 22% to $49.6m, or 8.6% of net sales, from $63.5m, or 11.4% of net sales, last time.

Net sales at the New York based company rose 4.3% to $580.3m, from $556.2m, helped by the company's wider store base and growth in its factory and internet businesses.

By division, net sales nudged ahead at both Ann Taylor, at $222.2m versus $221.5m, and at Loft, at $274.3m compared with $273.6m.

Same-store sales, however, fell 3.3%. By division, comps at Ann Taylor increased 0.9%, but fell 9% at Loft.

Kay Krill, president and chief executive officer, said: "Our Ann Taylor division continued to offer compelling product assortments that resonated with our clients and drove increased full- price selling, while our Loft division continued to be challenged with a product assortment that was not balanced and did not offer enough updated classics or colour.

"As a result, Loft was very promotional throughout the quarter, which significantly impacted our gross margin."

The company reiterated its full year outlook for earnings per share in the range of $2.15 to $2.25.
Ann Taylor operates 878 stores.