Abercrombie & Fitch Doubles Profit, Cautious on Q4

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Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) reported fiscal third-quarter 2015 results before markets opened Friday. The specialty retailer posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.48 on revenues of $876.6 million. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.42 on revenues of $911.45 million. Third-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.22 and $864.65 million in revenues.

On a GAAP basis, Abercrombie reported EPS of $0.60, which excludes a negative impact of about $0.13 per share related to foreign currency exchange rates. Both GAAP and non-GAAP net income per share included discrete tax benefits of about $0.14 and $0.11, respectively.

Same-store sales for the quarter in the United States fell 3% and international same-store sales rose 1%. Companywide, same-store sales were down 1%. Direct-to-consumer and omnichannel sales accounted for 21% of total quarterly sales. Adjusted gross margin rose from 62.2% year over year to 63.4%, primarily due to higher average unit retails combined with lower average unit cost.

In its outlook for the fourth quarter, Abercrombie said it expects same-store sales to be approximately flat year over year and that negative effects of the stronger dollar will continue. Gross margin is also expected to be approximately flat, as are operating expenses.

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Abercrombie did not provide an EPS or revenue forecast, but analysts are looking for full-year EPS of $0.81 on revenues of $3.49 billion. Fourth-quarter sales are estimated to come in roughly flat with last year at $1.1 billion.

The company expects to open eight new stores in the fourth quarter, in addition to 23 opened to date. Abercrombie also expects to close 60 U.S. stores in the fiscal year as leases expire.

Executive chairman Arthur Martinez said:

Our third quarter results exceeded our expectations coming into the quarter and provide the strongest validation yet that our initiatives are working. … As a result, adjusted operating income improved meaningfully on a constant currency basis. Inventories remain well controlled. … As we look ahead in the fourth quarter, there are mixed signals in the sector and we remain cautious; however, we are confident that the work we are doing is laying the foundation for long-term profitability and growth.

Shares traded up as much as 20% in Friday’s premarket, and almost as much in morning trading, at $23.28 in a 52-week range of $15.42 to $30.40. The consensus target price for the shares was $20.67 before the report.

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