NEW YORK Nov 26 Abercrombie & Fitch Co
seemed to come out ahead of other clothing retailers during the
annual Black Friday kickoff to the holiday shopping season,
analysts said on Monday.
Abercrombie and Wal-Mart Stores Inc were among the
perceived winners in a four-day weekend when some stores opened
on Thanksgiving night and people shopped online in greater
numbers than ever before.
The National Retail Federation trade group reported on
Sunday that total sales for the four days from Thanksgiving
through Sunday had risen 12.8 percent to $59.1 billion. That is
down from a 16.4 percent increase last year.
Abercrombie, which operates the Hollister chain in addition
to its namesake stores, "was the clear winner," with the longest
lines and units per transaction during the weekend, according to
Oppenheimer analyst Pamela Quintiliano.
Quintiliano said Ann Inc, which specializes in
women's clothing, "may potentially prove to be the most
disappointing as traffic never fully materialized on stable
UBS analyst Roxanne Meyer said the specialty retailers with
the most foot traffic over the four-day weekend included Limited
Brands Inc, American Eagle and Gap Inc,
with relatively weaker traffic at Aeropostale, Cold
Water Creek Inc and Chico's FAS Inc.
Like Ann, Cold Water Creek and Chico's focus on mature women
shoppers, whereas American Eagle and Abercrombie target younger
Despite early signs of strength, analysts cautioned against
reading too much into the results. Four of the five busiest
shopping days of the season will come in the 10 days leading up
to Christmas Day, according to ShopperTrak.
Janney Capital Markets analyst Adrienne Tennant downgraded
shares of Aeropostale on Monday to "neutral" from "buy," citing
increased competition from American Eagle and Abercrombie.