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Abercrombie & Fitch Loses Sex Appeal, Sales

Stocks in this article: ANF

There's simply nothing good to say about Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF).

It's not easy to rank among the worst of the worst today, when every retailer is awash in red after dismal May same-store sales results, but the teen retailer did just that during the last month.

Indeed, the company's 28% plunge in comparable sales, announced today, may have finally convinced investors that a near-term turnaround at the company is a pipe dream. Shares in the company tumbled 13% to $27.60 in afternoon trading.

Analysts had expected a 24.1% decline in monthly comparable sales.

This double-digit decline comes even after the retailer resorted to aggressive markdowns, a position it adamantly fought several months ago. It marks the seventh consecutive month the retailer reported declines of at least 20%.

Last month Abercrombie & Fitch also posted a bigger-than-expected loss in its first quarter and said it is reviewing alternative options for its Ruehl concept.

But why aren't competitors like American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) and Aeropostale (ARO) experiencing as severe a downturn? The answer is simple: shoppers, even the young'uns, do not want to shell out $50 for a polo shirt.

American Eagle Outfitters also missed analysts expectations, slipping 7% during the month; analysts had expected a 6.3% decline. Shares of the company fell 2% to $14.84 in afternoon trading.

But Aeropostale actually managed another month of double-digit growth, soaring by more than 19% and far surpassing Wall Street's target of 10.7% growth.

Clearly, both of these retailers have been better able than Abercrombie & Fitch to capture the value-oriented consumer looking for fashionable merchandise at wallet-friendly prices.

Copyright 2009 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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