Abercrombie & Fitch Shares Surge

  • Hollister brand exceeds forecasts for comparable sales
  • Company’s loss was smaller than estimates from analysts

Why It's Too Early to Tell Who Is Winning the Retail War

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is giving investors cause for optimism.

The apparel retailers’ shares spiked as much as 16 percent, the most intraday in more than five months, after the company reported better second-quarter comparable sales and a net loss that was smaller than Wall Street expected. The stock’s gain pared much of its 20 percent year-to-date decline through yesterday.

“We are encouraged by the clear progress across all brands,” Chief Executive Officer Fran Horowitz said in a company statement Thursday. “Through aggressive execution of our strategic plan, we delivered our third consecutive quarter of sequential comparable sales improvement.’

Same-store sales -- a key metric to gauge performance -- fell 1 percent, less than the 2.1 percent drop that was estimated by Consensus Metrix. Sales of its Hollister brand, targeted at a younger audience, rose 5 percent, outpacing expectations for a 2.9 percent growth. Abercrombie sees comparable sales unchanged or up slightly in the second half of the year.

After discounting some items, the company posted a loss of 16 cents a share, less than analysts’ average estimate of a 33-cent loss. Sales of $779.3 million were higher than expected.

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