Industry competitor Hollister saw same-store sales decline 25 percent in the fourth quarter, parent company Abercrombie & Fitch reported this morning.
The retailer is one of the few at the mall that did not discount during the holidays. CEO Mike Jeffries believes being promotional would damage the aspirational image of its brands, he said. The company also has plenty of cash on the books - $522 million - which helps it take the high road.
"The fourth quarter proved to be a catastrophe for the retail industry; a nightmare that included unprecedented promotional activity by other retailers in the malls and consumers who continued to show reluctance to spend, especially for premium brands," Jeffries said in a press release. "However, despite the unprecedented volatility, we are satisfied with our results for the quarter. Our comparable store sales decrease was lower than we had projected. ... and we maintained the aspirational nature of all of our brands."
Other companywide results
Q4 sales: down 19 percent to $998 million.
Q4 same-store sales: down 25 percent.
Q4 gross profit rate: 64.4 percent, 280 basis points lower than last year.
Q4 net income: down 68 percent to $68.4 million. (That figure includes the impact of an impairment charge and a tax expense charge.)
2008 sales: down 6 percent to $3.5 billion.
2008 same-store sales: down 13 percent
2008 gross profit rate: 66.7 percent versus 67 percent last year.
2008 net income: $272.2 million, down 42 percent
Cash at end of year: $522 million
No. of Hollister stores: 507 in the U.S., 5 in Canada, and three in the U.K.
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