LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Teen retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc (AEO.N) said on Wednesday its sales at stores open at least a year were flat with last year due to uneven store traffic, but the company repeated its fourth-quarter earnings outlook.
Analysts, on average, had expected same-store sales — a key gauge of retail performance — to rise 1.3 percent, according to Reuters Estimates.
Total sales for the four weeks ended December 1 were $285.8 million, up 16 percent compared with $247 million for the four weeks ended November 25, 2006.
“November sales reflected uneven store traffic throughout the month,” said the mall-based retailer, which sells colorful basics to young men and women, in a statement.
A year earlier, November same-store sales at the company rose 10 percent. Many apparel retailers — the bulk of whom report same-store sales results on Thursday — have warned of lower consumer spending this year and traffic that has decreased at the mall.
Just before the crucial holiday season, American consumers have been hit by higher gas prices, a housing slump, and fallout from the credit crisis. But experts have noted that teen retailers are largely insulated from these issues that may crimp spending by parents, but not by teens themselves.
A PICK-UP IN SALES OVER HOLIDAY WEEKEND
American Eagle said traffic was strong over the three-day Thanksgiving weekend — the traditional kick-off to holiday shopping — which averaged a mid single-digit rise in same- store sales.
The company, which also operates the “aerie” line of dorm-wear and intimates and retailer Martin + Osa for contemporary adults, said it still expects fourth-quarter earnings to range between 67 cents to 70 cents per share, compared with 66 cents a year ago.
Analysts, on average, have been expecting earnings of 69 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.
Pittsburgh-based American Eagle shares rose 1 percent to $22.35 in extended trading after closing at $22.11, down 2 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.
Reporting by Alexandria Sage; editing by Carol Bishopric and Andre Grenon