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Abercrombie Shares Slip on Nov. Sales

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF - Get Report) shares fell Thursday morning after its monthly same-stores sales figures confirmed everyone's worries about the retail sector in general: a berserker Black Friday promotional effort has for the most part failed to help retailers overcome a slow November.

Before Thursday's opening bell, Abercrombie reported a 17% decrease in same-store sales last month compared with November 2008. Analysts were expecting weakness, but not to this degree. They were looking for a sales drop of 9.3%.

Investors responded by sending the Abercrombie's stock price down 3.5% to $38.50 in the first hour of trading Thursday. Volume was heavy, reaching nearly 2 million shares; average daily turnover in the name is 4 million. Abercrombie shares have risen steadily since July; they touched a new 52-week high just last month, in the middle of what now appears to have been miserable November for shopkeepers.

Abercrombie said its overall sales last month, which includes stores that have been open less than year, fell 8%.

By far and away the company's Hollister chain performed the worst in November. Same-store sales in this division plunged 23%, missing analysts' expectations of a 14% decline.

At its trademark Abercrombie & Fitch shops, same-store sales shrank by 11%, far worse than the 4.9% decline Wall Street was forecasting.

Abercrombie joined teen-apparel cohort Aeropostale (symbol) -- and many other retailers reporting November sales results Thursday -- in disappointing investors with some ugly numbers. A cautious outlook for Aeropostale's fourth quarter appeared to pressure its stock price Thursday.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.

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