And while both American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) were upgraded this week due to strong traffic over Black Friday weekend, Brean Murray Carret analyst Eric Beder said he wouldn't be surprised if both companies disappoint.
On average, analysts predict American Eagle will post a 1.8% decline and Abercrombie will tumble 9.5%.
"We believe trends only slightly improved at American Eagle, as its decision to not be aggressive in discounting denim around the Black Friday holiday will prove to be a mistake," Beder wrote. "We believe American Eagle is already more aggressive than planned on holiday discounting."
Indeed, Abercrombie & Fitch's Hollister concept was the standout over the weekend, as it drew traffic with its Buy One Get One Free event. But Beder says traffic gains were more than offset by average unit price declines."Given that the company is up against a 28% drop last year, a mid-to-high single-digit decline is a disgrace, in our view," Beder wrote. Any Black Friday surge also fell off significantly Saturday and Sunday, particularly in the specialty apparel sector, Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Thomas Filandro wrote in a note. "[This suggests] the sector will now be faced with several weeks of sporadic and potentially lackluster traffic, as consumers await the final week's deals leading up to Christmas," he wrote. The uptick in online sales could also potentially take a bite out of comparable sales. Cyber Monday sales jumped 14% compared with last year, according to Coremetrics, a Web analystics firm. And since online sales are not included in monthly same-store sales tallies for most companies, we may not be getting a complete picture of November sales. Still, for retailers like Children's Place (PLCE) and Macy's (M), which do include online sales in monthly figures, it could provide a boost to results.
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