Analyst Dorothy Lakner says the women's retailer had strong, full-price selling season at Loft. She says Loft looks like a winner for Spring, and sales at Ann Taylor stores also are improving. Lakner thinks Loft will keep driving results, led by fashion, value, and an increased focus on petites. She notes the new Ann collection isn't as strong as expected, as there's stiff competition from Banana Republic and J Crew this spring.
Lakner says catalysts for fiscal 2005 include the launch of Loft.com, a focus on petites at both concepts, and a new Factory strategy. These catalysts already are embedded in her previous fiscal 2005 (Jan.) outlook. She sees $2.52 fiscal 2005 earnings per share, and $2.81 in fiscal 2006. She raised her target to $48, and rates the shares as sector perform.