Abercrombie & Fitch Sales Crater in 1Q, Loss Narrows

abercrombie fitch store san francisco shoppers
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Abercrombie & Fitch reported Friday a steeper-than-expected drop in quarterly comparable sales, in part because of inventory shortages, and the teen clothing retailer's shares fell more than 11 percent.

Sales at stores open at least a year combined with online sales fell 15 percent. The decline was most pronounced at the Hollister chain, the company's largest. But Abercrombie lost business under all its banners, even in its direct-to-consumer operations, which include e-commerce.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF) said it expected comparable sales to be slightly down for the remainder of the year.

Overall sales fell 9 percent to $838.8 million in the first quarter ended May 4, well below analyst expectations of $941.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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The company said it had more merchandise shortages than expected during the quarter, but Chief Executive Officer Mike Jeffries said in a statement that the issue was "largely" resolved.

Abercrombie joins rivals American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (AEO) and Aeropostale Inc. (ARO) among chains that cater to young shoppers and reported poor first-quarter results this week.

Comparable sales, comprised of same-store sales and online sales, fell 18 percent at Hollister, and 13 percent at the company's namesake chain. Abercrombie got some relief from a jump in sales outside the United States.

The company said its loss narrowed to $7.2 million, or 9 cents a share, in the quarter from $21.3 million, or 25 cents a share, a year earlier. That was 4 cents worse than analysts expected.

Shares of Abercrombie were down 11.2 percent at $$48.26 in trading before the market opened.

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