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NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of women's clothing company Ann Inc. soared more than 20 percent on Friday as the company reported strong second-quarter sales from its Ann Taylor and Loft brands and raised its fiscal 2012 revenue forecast.
THE SPARK: Earlier in the day Ann announced that revenue at Ann Taylor stores open at least a year rose 5.6 percent in the second quarter. The metric climbed 4.2 percent for the Loft brand. This figure is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed.
Ann also increased its full-year revenue outlook, saying it now expects revenue to approach $2.39 billion. The New York company previously called for $2.38 billion in revenue. Analysts polled by FactSet predict full-year revenue of $2.37 billion.
THE ANALYSIS: Jefferies & Co.'s Randal Konik lifted his price target for Ann to $38 from $33 and reiterated a "Buy" rating. In a client note, the analyst said that the company posted better-than-expected sales in quarter and was happy to see strength in both brands.
Margaret Whitfield of Sterne, Agee & Leach said Ann built momentum during the quarter, with results improving at its brands each month of the period. The analyst boosted the company's price target to $40 from $34 and kept a "Buy" rating.
SHARE ACTION: Ann Inc.'s stock gained $6.15, or 21.9 percent, to $34.29 in afternoon trading. Over the past year, the stock has traded between $20.40 and $29.81. The stock is up 8 percent for the year to date.