How Abercrombie should spend its summer vacation

It's a phrase the millions of kids still locked in their classrooms for another few weeks certainly don't want to hear -- but it's already weighing heavy on the minds of retail executives.

Back to school.

The pre-September rush was front and center when teen-friendly mall staples Abercrombie and Fitch and Aeropostale reported earnings Tuesday.

Aeropostale, which was happy to disclose a first-quarter net sales increase of 21%, stressed a continued attention to accessories to help consumers reinvent their wardrobe at minimal cost. Over at Abercrombie, the picture was bleaker: the company lost $27 million in the first quarter and grudgingly acknowledged that it's finally going to lower prices.