New Albany, Ohio, February 2, 2012: Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF - News) today reported on the Company`s performance for the quarter ended January 28, 2012. Net sales increased 16% to $1.329 billion for the quarter, compared to net sales of $1.149 billion for the fiscal quarter ended January 29, 2011.
Comparable store sales for the quarter were flat to last year. Comparable store sales for the quarter were below expectations, primarily due to lower than expected sales in U.S. stores.
Total U.S. sales, including direct-to-consumer sales, increased 4% to $962.2 million. Total international sales, including direct-to-consumer sales, increased 62% to $366.6 million. Total Company direct-to-consumer sales, including shipping and handling, increased 41% to $212.3 million.
Gross margin erosion for the quarter is now expected to be approximately 750 basis points, as a result of lower than expected sales and higher markdowns driven by a more aggressive promotional environment than anticipated.
In its fiscal fourth quarter results, the Company expects to record material charges, including charges for impairments and write-downs of store-related long-lived assets, other charges related to store closures and lease terminations, and charges associated with legal settlements and the reclassification of the Company`s auction rate securities to trading securities. Excluding these charges, the Company expects to report non-GAAP earnings per share for the quarter of approximately $1.10 to $1.15. Pending finalization of the material charges mentioned above, the comparable U.S. GAAP earnings per share number is not available at this time but will be available when earnings are released on February 15, 2012.
Additional information regarding sales for the quarter can be found in a pre-recorded message accessible for two weeks from today, by dialing (800) 395-0662 or, internationally, by dialing (402) 220-1262.
With regard to 2012, the Company now projects earnings per share in the range of $3.50 to $3.75. This projection is based on an assumption of flat same store sales for 2012. The Company will provide additional details on 2012 expectations during its earnings call on February 15, 2012.
Mike Jeffries, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Abercrombie & Fitch Co., said:
"Our sales for the quarter were below expectations in a highly promotional environment, and our results were further affected by all-time high cotton costs. We remain cautious on near-term sales trends; however, we are confident that we are on track with our assortment and our long-term strategy, and hope to see improvement as 2012 progresses."
The Company will release its fourth quarter results on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 prior to the opening of the market and hold a conference call at 8:30 AM Eastern Time. To listen to the conference call, dial (888) 510-1768 and ask for the Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly Call or go to www.abercrombie.com. The international call-in number is (719) 325-2145. This call will be recorded and made available by dialing the replay number (888) 203-1112 or the international number (719) 457-0820 followed by the conference ID number 2794975 or through wwww.abercrombie.com.