Abercrombie & Fitch same-store sales fall 10 percent

Reuters

Abercrombie & Fitch Co reported comparable sales and profits that were far below Wall Street expectations, blaming a drop in store visits by shoppers, and said business will decline even more during the back-to-school quarter.

The teen retailer's comparable sales, which includes online sales and sales at stores open at least a year, fell 10 percent last quarter and the company said on Thursday sales would drop off slightly more this quarter, which includes the back-to-school season.

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It also gave a disappointing profit forecast, sending its shares down 17 percent to $38.85 in premarket trading.

Wall Street analysts were expecting a drop in comparable sales of only 2.5 percent.

The drop-off in business was felt most acutely at Abercrombie's Hollister Co chain, its largest, where comparable sales fell 13 percent. At its name-sake chain, comparable sales were down 6 percent.

Overall revenue fell 1 percent to $945.7 million, well below the $996.2 million analysts expected. The one bright spot was international revenue rose 15 percent.

Abercrombie expects a profit of 40 cents to 45 cents a share for the current quarter, while analysts anticipate $1.06. The company said it would not give projections beyond that, citing uncertainty around recent traffic trends.

For the second quarter that ended August 3, the company said net income fell to $11.4 million, or 14 cents per share, from $17.1 million, or 20 cents per share a year earlier. Excluding items related to a project to lift profits, Abercrombie had a profit 16 cents per share, below Wall Street forecasts for 28 cents.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Maureen Bavdek)