IMAGE SOURCE: Ascena Retail Group Inc.

What happened

Shares of Ascena Retail Group Inc. (NASDAQ:ASNA) fell as much as 15.6% early Tuesday and then settled to trade down 11% as of 2:00 p.m. EST after the women's fashion retailer announced disappointing holiday results.

So what

For the 2016 holiday period from Nov. 19, 2016, through Jan. 2, 2017, Ascena's consolidated comparable sales declined 3.1%, as 2.7% growth in comps from the kids fashion segment and 1.6% growth from Catherines were more than offset by comparable sales declines of 8.2% at Ann Taylor, 1.8% at LOFT, 7.1% from maurices, 4.6% from dressbarn, and 5.1% at Lane Bryant.

In addition, for the combined November and December fiscal periods, Ascena's consolidated comparable sales fell 4.4%.

As Ascena Retail Group CEO David Jaffe said:

We were disappointed by our overall Holiday performance. Outside of discrete peaks during the holiday season, we experienced stronger than expected store traffic headwinds. As a result, we were forced into a more highly promotional stance in order to move through inventory in the face of softer overall consumer demand. At this juncture, we are positioning our full year outlook assuming that the trend we experienced through Holiday continues. We continue to aggressively work our Change for Growth enterprise transformation, and are focused on expense management opportunities to help us navigate the challenging environment.

Now what

As a result, Ascena now expects an adjusted loss per share of $0.11 to $0.08 for the fiscal second quarter ending Jan. 28, 2017 -- well below its previous guidance for adjusted EPS ranging from a loss of $0.05 per share to break even. Finally, for the full fiscal year ending July 29, 2017, Ascena expects adjusted earnings per share ranging from $0.37 to $0.42, representing a significant reduction from prior guidance for full fiscal-year adjusted earnings per share of $0.60 to $0.65.

All things considered, even with shares down nearly 42% over the past year before today's plunge, it's no surprise to see investors taking yet another step back from Ascena Retail Group stock today.

Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.