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Ann 4Q revenue misses Wall Street's view

NEW YORK (AP) -- The retailer Ann said Thursday that its fiscal fourth-quarter revenue came in weaker than expected, as bright colored merchandise at its Loft stores fell flat over the holidays.

Its stock dropped 7 percent in morning trading.

The retailer, which also runs Ann Taylor, said that it now anticipates quarterly revenue of $608 million. The New York company's prior forecast was for $627.2 million in revenue.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted revenue of $623.6 million.

President and CEO Kay Krill said that the lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy also dampened Ann Inc.'s fourth-quarter performance.

The executive said Loft had to increase its promotions during the latter half of the quarter. While this pressured margins, it helped the brand get rid of its holiday inventories, Krill said.

In the fourth quarter, revenue at stores open at least a year dipped 1 percent. This figure is a key gauge of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.

The metric fell 2 percent for Loft and climbed 1 percent for Ann Taylor.

Ann said that it foresees record fiscal 2012 earnings per share even though its fourth quarter results disappointed. The company now expects full-year revenue of $2.38 billion, down from a prior forecast of $2.4 billion.

Wall Street expects revenue of $2.39 billion.

Shares of Ann declined $2.30, or 7 percent, to $30.50. The stock has traded between $23.23 and $39.78 over the past year.

Ann will report its fourth-quarter and full-year results on March 8.