The company reported that same store sales for stores open at least a year rose 3%, more than double analysts' average estimate of a 1.47% increase.
"We ended 2018 on a strong note, recording our sixth consecutive quarter and second consecutive full year of positive comparable sales while exceeding $1 billion in annual digital sales," said CEO Fran Horowitz. "I am proud of our team and all we have accomplished this year. Most importantly, while delivering on the top-line, we drove gross profit rate improvement and operating expense leverage resulting in 100 basis points of adjusted EBIT margin expansion."
The company's Hollister brand saw revenue increase 1% to $712.9 million, while Abercrombie brand sales fell 9% to $442.7 million.
Overall net sales fell 3.1% to $1.16 billion on earnings of $1.35 per share vs. analyst expectations of revenue of $1.13 billion on earnings of $1.15 per share.
For 2019, the company said it expects net sales to climb between 2% and 4% with comparable store sales expected to be up in the low-single digits. First quarter net sales are expected to be flat year over year with comps expected to range between flat and up 2%.
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