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Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) Execs Play Musical Chairs

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In its second management reshuffle this week, Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) announced it has promoted CFO Jonathan Ramsden to the role of chief operating officer. Ramsden will retain his current duties until a new CFO is appointed.

The appointment comes on the heels of news earlier this week that controversial CEO Mike Jeffries had been stripped of his role as chairman, a position he held for nearly two decades. Jefferies landed in hot water last year when comments he made in 2006 that the brand only wanted to "market to cool, good-looking people" resurfaced. The brand has since announced it will begin offering women's sizes large and above.

While Jeffries will keep his role as director and CEO, Arthur Martinez, former CEO of Sears (SHLD) and longtime retail executive, will replace him as chairman.

In response, hedge fund Engaged Capital said the move to split the role of CEO and chairman was a step in the right direction, but not enough to spark a turnaround. "These reactive changes alone will not be sufficient to put the company back on a course towards creating shareholder value," it said in a note on Tuesday.

The New Albany, Ohio-based Abercrombie said it had also appointed new directors Terry Burman, former CEO of Signet Jewelers (SIG), and Charles Perrin, one-time CEO of Avon Products  (AVP) and Duracell, rounding out Abercrombie's board to a total 12 members.

Earlier in the month, the beleaguered retailer showed signs of improvement after comparable-store sales fell only 6% over the holiday period compared to a 14% drop in the third quarter ended October.

Abercrombie & Fitch is due to report fourth-quarter results on Feb. 26. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect net income of $1.03 a share on revenue of $1.34 billion. For the year ended January, analysts forecast per-share earnings of $1.61 and $4.17 billion in sales.

TheStreet Ratings team rates ABERCROMBIE & FITCH as a Hold with a ratings score of C. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate ABERCROMBIE & FITCH (ANF) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, unimpressive growth in net income and weak operating cash flow."

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