Why Abercrombie & Fitch Is Still Rocking

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) reported fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 results before markets opened Wednesday. For the quarter, the specialty retailer posted quarterly adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.35 on net sales of $1.16 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $1.38 and revenues of $1.19 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to consensus estimates for EPS of $1.15 and $1.13 billion in revenues.

For the 2018 fiscal year, the company reported EPS of $1.15 and revenues of $3.59 billion, compared to 2017 EPS of $0.65 and revenues of $3.49 billion. Analysts had been looking for EPS of $0.97 and revenues of $3.57 billion. The 2017 fiscal year included one additional week.

Same-store sales rose 3% in the third quarter, led by a 6% jump at A&F’s Hollister stores. U.S. same-store sales jumped 5% while international sales were down 2%. For the full year, same-store sales rose 3% and U.S. sales were up 6%.

For the fiscal year ahead, A&F sees net sales rising by 2% to 4% and same-store sales up in the low-single digits. The company said it would close up to 40 stores this year and “deliver” about 85 “new store experiences” by opening new store prototypes, remodeling and right-sizing. Analysts had forecast EPS of $1.11 and revenues of $3.61 billion (up about 0.6% over 2018).

For the first quarter, net sales are forecast to be flat with last year’s total of $730.9 million and same-store sales are expected to be flat to up 2%. Analysts expect a net loss of $0.47 per share and revenues of $732.5 million (up by about 0.2%).

CEO Fran Horowitz said:

We ended 2018 on a strong note, recording our sixth consecutive quarter and second consecutive full year of positive comparable sales while exceeding $1 billion in annual digital sales. I am proud of our team and all we have accomplished this year. Most importantly, while delivering on the top-line, we drove gross profit rate improvement and operating expense leverage resulting in 100 basis points of adjusted EBIT margin expansion and a 77% improvement in adjusted net income for the full year.

The solid beats on quarterly and full-year estimates coupled with an optimistic outlook are giving investors a reason to chase the shares higher this morning.

Investors have pushed shares up about 8.4% in Wednesday’s premarket session to $23.49, in a 52-week range of $15.28 to $29.69. The 12-month consensus price target was $20.38 before this morning’s report.