Abercrombie & Fitch Co. shares surged 12% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the teen apparel retailer beat earnings and sales estimates for its fiscal second quarter. The company said it had a net loss of $0.8 million, or 1 cent a share, in the quarter to Aug. 1, after a profit of $12.9 million, or 17 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Excluding certain items, the company had EPS of 12 cents, well ahead of the FactSet consensus for a loss of 4 cents a share. Sales fell 8% to $817.8 million, also ahead of the FactSet consensus of $812 million. Same-store sales fell 4% in the quarter, but were better than the consensus for a decline of 6%. "We delivered a meaningful sequential improvement in comparable sales, stabilized gross margins and achieved significant expense reductions," Executive Chairman Arthur Martinez said in a statement. The company made better progress in revitalizing its Hollister brand than its core Abercrombie & Fitch brand, and is working to hire experts on brand design and merchandising to boost that effort, he said. Looking ahead, the company expects continued improvement in same-store sales, albeit skewed more toward the crucial fourth quarter. Shares have fallen 40% in the year so far, while the S&P 500 has lost 9%.
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