Abercrombie & Fitch profit down; outlook short

NEW YORK Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:03am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Teen clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co (ANF.N) reported a lower quarterly profit on Friday and forecast full-year earnings below analysts' estimates, as the weak U.S. economy leads consumers to cut back on buying clothes.

The company said second-quarter net income fell to $77.8 million, or 87 cents per share, from $81.3 million, or 88 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting 86 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

The results include a charge of 1 cent per share related to the departure of a senior executive. Abercrombie's chief financial officer, Michael Kramer, said last month he would leave the company to take the top job at clothing maker Kellwood Co, worrying some analysts who said international growth plans, profit margin preservation and expense management could be at risk.

The retailer said net sales in the quarter, which ended on August 2, rose 5 percent to $845.8 million, but companywide same-store sales fell 4 percent.

Same-store sales, a closely watched retail metric, rose 5 percent at the company's main Abercrombie & Fitch stores. But that could not offset declines of 9 percent at its surf-inspired Hollister chain, 11 percent at its kid's chain abercrombie, and 22 percent at Ruehl, a small chain targeting men and women in their 20s.

Abercrombie said it expects net income for the second half of $3.40 to $3.45 per share and profit for the full year of $4.95 to $5.00 per share.

Analysts on average were expecting $5.34 per share for 2008, according to Reuters Estimates.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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