* Aeropostale holiday sales down 6 percent
* Aeropostale cuts back Q4 EPS view
* American Eagle holiday sales up 5 pct
* Urban Outfitters holiday sales up 15 pct
Jan 10 Aeropostale Inc confirmed fears
of weak sales during the holiday selling period as the
budget-friendly teen clothes retailer saw sales slide, sending
shares down nearly 10 percent on Thursday.
Aeropostale has been losing out to rivals like American
Eagle Outfitters Inc, and said the environment in the
teen apparel space was still heavily promotional.
"Following a strong Black Friday weekend, sales and traffic
trends deteriorated significantly in December," Aeropostale
Chief Executive Officer Thomas Johnson said in a statement.
The New York-based company has had trouble engaging its
young clientele with its merchandise. Wardrobe staples like
graphic T-shirts and fleece during cold weather often make for
the lion's share of teen clothing inventories and Aeropostale
has had a tough time selling those.
Aeropostale shares were down 9.8 percent at $12.05 in early
morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Richard Jaffe, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus research
firm, said fashion merchandise was performing better than basic
clothing and fashion items represent only a small portion of
Aeropostale's total merchandise.
"The underperforming core basics category represents the
majority of the store and requires deep discounts to sell,"
He said that in the crowded "classic, preppy" merchandise
business, companies such as Abercrombie and Aeropostale "lack
differentiation" so they compete mostly on price.
Aeropostale, which gave numbers for the nine weeks ended
Dec. 29, said sales fell 6 percent.
In contrast, American Eagle, which posted numbers for the
period ended Jan. 8, said sales had risen 5 percent and
post-Christmas selling was strong.
Separately, Urban Outfitters Inc, which owns the
Anthropologie chain, said sales for two months ending Dec. 31
rose 15 percent over the same period last year.
The weak sales prompted Aeropostale to cut back on its
expectations for its fourth quarter.
The company now expects net earnings of 20 cents to 24 cents
per share, compared with its earlier outlook of 36 cents to 41