American Eagle Outfitters Nov. key sales fall

AP News
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Posted: Dec 03, 2009 9:09 AM

Teen apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc. said Thursday that sales at stores open at least a year fell 2 percent in November as it experienced "choppy" store traffic through the month.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, on average, forecast a drop of 1.9 percent.

Sales at stores open at least a year are considered a key measure of retailer performance because they measure growth at existing stores rather than from newly opened ones. The drop of 2 percent in November was an improvement from a fall of 11 percent in the same month last year.

Total sales for the four weeks ended Nov. 29 fell 1 percent to $270.6 million.

So far this year, the company's total sales have fallen 3 percent to $2.29 billion, while sales at stores open at least a year are down 7 percent.

The company, based in Pittsburgh, said traffic was "choppy" throughout the month, but the Thanksgiving weekend was positive as shoppers responded well to its holiday offerings. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 3 percent that weekend, which is the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

The company offered guidance for the fourth quarter, saying it expects earnings per share to range from 29 cents to 32 cents, excluding one-time items.

Analysts, on average, predict the company will earn 31 cents a share in the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters. Those estimates typically exclude one-time charges.