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Ann cuts 1Q outlook on weaker-than-expected sales

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ann Inc., which operates Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft women's clothing stores, on Thursday lowered its first-quarter revenue guidance, saying cold weather dampened sales and led to more markdowns than planned.

Weak traffic at its off-price outlet stores also contributed to its underperformance.

"In light of the unseasonably cold weather this spring, we were more promotional than planned in order to move through warm weather product categories, particularly at Loft," said CEO Kay Krill in a statement. Ann operates 984 stores in 47 states and Puerto Rico and Canada.

Revenue in stores open at least one year fell 0.5 percent during the quarter, including a 1.9 percent increase at Ann Taylor, offset by a 1.9 percent decrease at Ann Taylor Loft.

The metric is a key measure of a retailer's health, because it measures growth at existing locations, and excludes revenue from stores that recently opened or closed.

The New York company now expects net revenue of $575 million for the three months ended April 30, down from prior guidance of $600 million. Analysts, on average, expect revenue of $595.9 million, according to FactSet.

Ann plans to report first-quarter results on June 6.