Key Nov. sales figure drops at Abercrombie & Fitch

AP News
Posted: Dec 03, 2009 8:39 AM

Clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. said Thursday that sales in its stores that have been open at least a year fell 17 percent in November, worse than analysts predicted.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a 9.3 percent drop from a year earlier for the four-week period ending Nov. 28.

The figure is considered a key performance indicator for retailers because it excludes the effects of sales at stores that open or close during the year. The figure fell 28 percent in November 2008 _ also worse than analysts predicted.

In pre-market trading, Abercrombie shares plunged more than 7 percent, or $2.95, to $36.95.

The company's overall sales fell 8 percent to $267.3 million in November.

In the company's Abercrombie & Fitch stores that have been open at least a year, sales fell 11 percent, while analysts expected a 4.9 percent decline.

At the children's chain abercrombie, the figure fell 16 percent, compared with a forecast of 10.7 percent.

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At the Hollister Co. chain, sales at stores open at least a year fell 23 percent, worse than analyst forecasts for a 14.1 percent.

And at the Ruehl chain, the figure fell 15 percent, better than the 26.1 percent drop analysts forecast.

For the year to date, sales in the company's stores that have been open at least a year have fallen 26 percent, while net overall sales have dropped 19 percent to $2.27 billion.