* Raises 2013 earnings/share view to $1.55-$1.65 vs est
* Shares rise 16 pct in extended trading
(Adds analyst comments, details about sales, company
background; updates shares)
By Maria Ajit Thomas
Jan 9 Teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch
Co raised its full-year earnings forecast, citing
higher-than-expected sales in the fourth quarter to date.
Abercrombie shares rose 16 percent after the bell.
The company, which has reported seven straight quarters of
declines in same-store sales, said comparable-store sales for
the nine-week period ended Jan. 4 declined 6 percent.
Chief Executive Mike Jeffries said in a statement that the
company saw a "sequential improvement in comparable store sales"
for the quarter to date.
Total comparable sales fell 14 percent in the third quarter.
"The 6 percent decline essentially implies that the
turnaround in the domestic business is happening on an
accelerated timeline versus expectations," Piper Jaffray analyst
Stephanie Wissink said in an email.
"... Given the negative sentiment surrounding this company
specifically, less worse is actually significantly better."
Jeffries, CEO for the past 16 years, has been heavily
criticized for Abercrombie's recent dismal performance.
Abercrombie has struggled to win back teen shoppers, who are
increasingly heading to "fast fashion" chains such as Inditex's
Zara which offer more fashionable clothing at cheaper
The company said in November that it would expand its
women's tops collection, offer larger sizes and more colors, and
start selling shoes, in a bid to win back teen shoppers.
Abercrombie executives also had said that the retailer planned
to increase average selling prices in the mid-single digit range
Abercrombie said on Thursday it now expects earnings of
$1.55-$1.65 per share for the year.
The company initially forecast full-year earnings of
$3.35-$3.45 per share in February. After a series of warnings,
Abercrombie in November forecast $1.40-$1.50 per share.
Analysts on average were expecting a profit of $1.47 per
share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Abercrombie's shares were at $38.22 in extended trading.
They had closed at $33.21 on the New York Stock Exchange on
(Editing by Maju Samuel)