Have Analysts Cut Abercrombie & Fitch Ratings Too Much?

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Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) reported second-quarter fiscal 2016 results on Tuesday. Unfortunately this retailer posted another net loss and investors were not pleased, sending the stock down about 20%. Analysts poured into the stock as well, quickly adjusting their ratings after this devastating quarter.

24/7 Wall St. has included highlights from the earnings report, as well as what analysts are saying after the fact.

The specialty retailer posted an adjusted diluted loss per share of $0.25 on net sales of $783.16 million. In the same period a year ago, the company reported adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.12 and revenues of $817.76 million. Second-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for a loss per share of $0.02 and $787.71 million in revenues.

Same-store sales for the quarter in both the United States and internationally fell 4% year over year. Companywide, same-store sales were down 4%. Direct-to-consumer and omnichannel sales accounted for 23% of total quarterly sales. Gross margin slipped from 62.3% year over year to 60.9%, primarily due to higher average unit costs, partially offset by lower average unit retails.

In its outlook for the 2016 fiscal year, Abercrombie said it expects same-store sales to “remain challenging through the second half of the year, with a disproportionate effect from flagship and tourist locations.” At the end of the first quarter, the company said it expected same-store sales to “remain challenging in the second quarter, but to improve in the second half of the year.” That now appears to be out the window.

Abercrombie did not provide an EPS or revenue forecast, but analysts are looking for 2016 EPS of $0.81 on revenues of $3.44 billion. Consensus estimates also call for third-quarter EPS of $0.43 and net sales of $862.38 million.

Merrill Lynch reiterated an Underperform rating and cut its price objective to $16 from $17. The company gave its investment rationale as follows:

We expect Abercrombie’s margins to continue to move lower as currency, weak demand and a narrower pricing spread weigh on the profitable European division. The US business is showing signs of stabilization, with store closures and cost cuts helping to offset some margin pressure. However, headwinds remain for domestic teen retailers, including heightened competition and a weak fashion cycle.

S&P Capital IQ maintained its Hold rating with a $22 price target but reduced its fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018 EPS estimates by $0.43 and $0.27, to $0.75 and $1.16, respectively.

A few other analysts weighed in on Abercrombie & Fitch as well:

  • BMO has a Market Perform rating and cut its target price to $19.
  • Citigroup cut the price target to $20 from $23.
  • FBR lowered its price target to $19 from $22.
  • KeyBanc has an Overweight rating and cut its price target to $25 from $27.
  • RBC has a Sector Perform rating and cut its price target to $20 from $23.
  • Stifel cut its price target to a Hold rating from Buy.
  • SunTrust Robinson has a Buy rating and lowered its price target to $23 from $30.
  • UBS has a Neutral rating and cut its price target to $18 from $22.

Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch were last trading down 2% at $17.73, with a consensus analyst price target of $22.57 and a 52-week trading range of $16.49 to $32.83.

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