Ann Taylor owner Ascena plunges more than 30% after hours

Ascena Retail plunges on guidance
Ascena Retail plunges on guidance

Shares of Ascena Retail Group fell more than 30 percent in after-hours trading as the owner of Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant and other brands said it adjusted its second-half outlook to reflect worse-than-expected business conditions.

In what's been a rough earnings season for retailers, Ascena said Wednesday that it expects third-quarter comparable store sales to decline 8 percent and for full-year comparable sales to decline between 6 percent and 7 percent.

"Industry-wide traffic headwinds and a highly elevated promotional environment have persisted at levels significantly above our expectations, resulting in a miss to our third quarter sales and earnings outlook.," CEO David Jaffe said in a press release.

The retailer also said it expects to book an impairment charge for the third quarter, although the company said it wasn't able to put a number on the size of the charge at this time.

"The impact of the challenging retail environment, the decline in the Company's stock price, and the reduction in the Company's forecasted earnings represent impairment indicators which required the Company to test its goodwill and indefinite lived intangible assets for impairment during the third quarter," Ascena said in a press release.

Ascena is also looking to beef up its cost-savings plan. The previous target was $150 million, but now it's looking for savings of $250 million to $300 million.

The company now says it expects adjust per-share earnings of 4 cents to 6 cents for its fiscal third quarter, down from previous guidance of 7 cents to 12 cents EPS. For the fiscal year, Ascena said it expects adjusted earnings in a range of 10 cents to 15 cents a share, compared to its earlier guidance of adjusted EPS of 37 cents to 42 cents.

As of Wednesday's close, shares of Ascena had fallen 54 percent year-to-date.