* Sees first-quarter same-store sales down mid-single
* Sees first quarter adjusted profit per share 16-19 cents
* Shares down 10.2 percent
By Phil Wahba
March 6 American Eagle Outfitters Inc on
Wednesday gave a profit forecast that fell short of Wall Street
expectations and said same-store sales would fall in the current
quarter, a setback for a company that has been winning market
share from rivals.
Shares were down 10.2 percent to $20.26 in late morning
The company, which outperformed Aeropostale Inc and
Abercrombie & Fitch Co during the Christmas season,
thanks to fewer markdowns and getting fresh merchandise more
quickly into stores, expects same-store sales this quarter to
fall by a mid-single-digit percentage rate, blaming the economy.
Retailers that cater to young shoppers on limited budgets,
or those who depend on getting an allowance from parents,
typically are among the first to feel any pullback from
customers hit by a tough economic climate.
Many Americans are dealing with smaller take home pay
because of higher payroll taxes as well as tax refunds that have
come later this year than last.
"We are currently managing through a challenging
macroeconomic environment," Chief Executive Robert Hanson told
analysts on a call. A colleague of his added that traffic to
malls was weak so far this quarter, which started in February.
Abercrombie last month also forecast a decline in quarterly
Still, American Eagle said it would open more stores in
cities like Miami and Florida even as it closes others, and said
it was paring locations in its aerie chain of lingerie stores
for young women.
American Eagle forecast earnings of 16 cents to 19 cents per
share, excluding special items, for the quarter that started
last month, well below the 25 cents Wall Street analysts were
projecting, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net income for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 2 rose to $94.8
million, or 47 cents per share, from $51.3 million, or 26 cents
per share, a year earlier. Same-store sales rose 4 percent.
Overall revenue for the 14-week period rose 8.6 percent to
Gross profit rose 6 percentage points to 41.2 percent of
sales, helped by lower cotton costs and fewer markdowns.
American Eagle said it was raising its quarterly dividend
14 percent to 12.5 cents per share.