Fraternity favorite

Abercrombie & Fitch

(ANF) - Get Report

turned in a solid quarter, but gave investors little cause for excitement regarding holiday sales growth.

The teen apparel retailer, based in New Albany, Ohio, reported higher third-quarter earnings Tuesday, beating expectations by 2 cents, as theopening of new store locations boosted sales. Abercrombie posted netincome of $47.7 million, or 48 cents a share, compared with $43.9 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier. Last week Abercrombie upped itsprevious forecast of earnings of 41 cents to 45 cents based on strong sales figures in the latter part of October. On average, analysts had beenprojecting earnings of 46 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Total revenue for the quarter ended Nov. 2 rose 18%, to $419.3 million from $354.5 million, ahead of estimates for $414.5 million. Third-quarter sales at stores open at least a year fell 5%. Abercrombie said it was comfortable with its fourth-quarter guidance of 79 cents a share. Analysts are targeting its earnings at 80 cents a share.

"In a tough environment I'm pleased we were able to report double-digit gains in sales and earnings per share for the quarter," the company said in a press release. "Given the uncertain outlook for consumer spending, we will continue to manage the business very cautiously throughout the holiday season."

The shares, which closed up 3% at $20.79 on the

New York Stock Exchange, shed 27 cents, or 1.3%, to $20.52 in after-hours trading on Island.