Abercrombie & Fitch to close 3 more flagship stores as company shares drop

By RetailFOXBusiness

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Abercrombie & Fitch Co. shares fell Wednesday after the retailer released first-quarter earnings that showed slow sales and more flagship store closings. This is the latest sign of retailers struggling to stay competitive.

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Same-store sales rose by just 1 percent for the company overall, the below analysts' prediction of 1.4 percent, Bloomberg reported.

Net sales rose slightly at $734 million compared to last year’s $730.9 million.

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Hollister saw positive sales of 2 percent, while Abercrombie & Fitch increased by 1 percent.

Net loss for the first quarter was 29 cents per share, compared to 62 cents per share last year, beating out Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was a loss of 43 cents per share.

"We are focused on our transformation initiatives, with global store network optimization a key priority. We continue to believe in stores and are committed to delivering intimate, omni-channel brand experiences that closely align with our customers’ needs,” Abercrombie’s Chief Executive Officer Fran Horowitz said in the report Wednesday.

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Horowitz said the company will close three more flagship stores including a Hollister, the company’s California-themed brand, in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. The flagship Abercrombie & Fitch locations in Milan, Italy, and Fukuoka, Japan are also expected to close by the end of 2019 and the first half of 2020.

The Hollister flagship is expected to shutter its doors by the end of 2019’s second fiscal quarter.

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Abercrombie & Fitch has closed five flagship stores since 2017. The company said the New York, Milan, and Fukuoka stores, along with the Copenhagen location that closed in March, represented less than 1 percent of total net sales. The company said in a call with analysts on Wednesday that it expects to close more flagship stores in the future.

Abercrombie shares have risen 25 percent since the beginning of the year but the stock has declined 1 percent in the last 12 months.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.