Abercrombie & Fitch Plummets on Dreary 3Q View, 33% Profit Drop

By EarningsFOXBusiness

Slammed by a traffic slowdown and weak women’s retail sales, Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) spooked Wall Street Thursday by disclosing a deeper-than-feared 33% dive in second-quarter profits and projecting back-to-school earnings that would badly miss forecasts.

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The dreary news from the teen apparel maker sparked a massive selloff, wiping away about 20% of the company’s stock.

A&F said it earned $11.4 million, or 14 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $17.1 million, or 20 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, it earned 16 cents a share, widely missing forecasts from analysts for 28 cents. The results also missed its own targets issued in May for EPS of 28 cents to 33 cents.

Sales slipped 0.6% to $945.7 million, trailing the Street’s view of $996.2 million.

Same-store sales dropped 10% as U.S. comparable sales dove 11% and international sales slid 7%.

The company’s namesake brand suffered a 6% drop in same-store sales, while Abercrombie Kids fell 3% and Hollister tumbled 13%.

“The second quarter was more difficult than expected due to weaker traffic and continued softness in the female business, consistent with what others have reported,” CEO Mike Jeffries said in a statement. “In that context we are planning sales, inventory and expenses conservatively for the remainder of the year.”

A&F also disappointed on the guidance front, projecting third-quarter EPS of 40 cents to 45 cents, which is not even close to the Street’s view of $1.06.

Management further alarmed shareholders by saying it is no longer providing guidance beyond the third quarter “due to a lack of visibility given recent traffic trends."

A number of other retailers have issued negative outlooks for the crucial back-to-school period, including retail giant Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), department store Macy’s (NYSE:WMT) and A&F rival American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO).

Shares of the New Albany, Ohio-based company plunged 19.70% to $37.58 in premarket trading on Thursday morning. A&F had already lost 2% on the year as of Wednesday’s close.