Abercrombie & Fitch Posts Wider Loss Due to Virus Shutdown

Apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch posted a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss  due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch  (ANF) - Get Report reported a wider-than-expected fiscal-first-quarter loss and a drop in sales due to the economic shutdown prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares of the New Albany, Ohio, company at last check were off 4.9% at $12.41.

For the quarter ended May 2 Abercrombie & Fitch reported its net loss widened to $244.1 million, or $3.90 a share, from $19.2 million, or 29 cents, in the year-earlier quarter. 

Adjusted losses in the latest quarter came to $3.29 a share, missing FactSet's analyst consensus estimate of a loss of $1.39 a share.

Sales totaled $485.4 million, down from $734 million a year earlier and missing FactSet's call for $497 million. 

The retailer declined to provide guidance because of the disruption caused by the coronavirus.

In the first quarter Abercrombie & Fitch sales fell 30% to $212.3 million, while the company's Hollister brand reported sales of $273 million, down 36% from a year earlier.

The company has about 850 stores, and roughly half of them are now open after being forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Digital sales grew about 25%, accelerating in mid-March through April and further speeding up in May.

"Our distribution centers remained operational, enabling us to fulfill digital customer demand globally, partially mitigating lost sales from temporary store closures," Chief Executive Fran Horowitz said in a statement.

Cash and equivalents totaled $704 million, compared with $671 million on Feb. 1 and $586 million as of May 4, 2019. 

The company returned about $28 million to shareholders in the quarter. The return came via share buybacks and dividends declared before A&F suspended those programs to increase its financial flexibility in light of the economic disruption caused by the pandemic.