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Abercrombie & Fitch sales tumble

Abercrombie & Fitch Co has reported a 10% fall in like-for-like sales in the second quarter of the year, with the teen clothing business blaming both a drop in footfall and weaker demand from its female customers.

The US fashion group, which owns Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister, saw net sales fall 1% to $945.7m (£605.2m) for the 13 weeks to August 3, from $951.4m (£608.8m) the year before.

Its Hollister fashion chain saw sales dip the sharpest, with sales down 13%. Abercrombie sales dropped 6%.

Total international sales increased 15% to $348.4m (£222.9m).

Abercrombie & Fitch reported net income of $11.4m (£7.3m), compared with $17.1m (£10.9m) the year before.  

Mike Jeffries, chief executive and chairman of Abercrombie & Fitch Co, said: “The second quarter was more difficult than expected due to weaker traffic and continued softness in the female business, consistent with what others have reported. In that context we are planning sales, inventory and expenses conservatively for the remainder of the year.”

He added: “Despite the challenging environment, we are very pleased by strong growth in our direct-to-consumer business and continued strong growth in China. We have also made excellent progress on our profit improvement initiative during the quarter, and we now expect savings from this initiative to exceed $100m annually.

“In addition, we are nearing completion of our long-term strategic review, and we are confident that this will provide us with a clear roadmap for sustainable growth in sales, profitability and return on invested capital.”

During the quarter, the company opened four international Hollister chain stores, including two stores in China.  The company also opened a combined Abercrombie & Fitch and Abercrombie Kids outlet store in the UK and US.

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