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Young fashion bucks trading slump in US

Young fashion chain Urban Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch bucked the US downward retail trend this week by posting surging profits.

The retailers’ positive first quarter results were in contrast to the more downbeat results from middle-market businesses and department stores.

Net income at casualwear chain Abercrombie & Fitch rose 3% to US$62.1 million (£31.5m) for the 13 weeks to May 5, despite an overall 3% drop in like-for-like sales. Total sales rose 8% to US$800.2m (£407m).

Chief executive Mike Jeffries said: “We produced bottom-line growth while still remaining true to the aspirational positioning of our brands.”
The group, which has more than 1,000 stores, plans to expand its retail space by 10% in the 2008 financial year 2008.

Separately, branded young fashion business Urban Outfitters’ net income grew 45% to US$42.6m (£21.6m), on sales of US$394.3m (£200m).

Like-for-like sales across the group, which also includes the Anthropologie chain and Free People brand, were up 10%. Meanwhile, income at middle-market department store business JC Penney dived 50% to US$120m (£61m) after big price cuts.

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