Abercrombie & Fitch, the teen retailer embroiled in controversy, said first-quarter comparable store sales slumped 17% compared to a year before. It reported a loss net loss of $7.2 million, or 9 cents a share.
Gross profit rate for the quarter was 65.9%, 720 basis points higher than last year`s first quarter gross profit rate. Abercrombie said the increase was driven by a benefit from a higher mix of spring merchandise selling and a decrease in product costs. Marketing, general and administrative expense for the first quarter rose 2% to $118.8 million, due to increases in IT and outside services, partially offset by decreases in incentive compensation and other compensation related expenses. Abercrombie said in the release that it is now "modestly more cautious" with regards to guidance for the rest of the year. The company now expects full year diluted earnings per share in the range of $3.15 to $3.25 versus the $3.49 a share analysts had forecast. Abercrombie had lowered its fiscal year guidance in the previous quarterly earnings results to $3.35 to $3.45 a share. The projection assumes comparable sales to be slightly down for the balance of the year. The company expects second quarter diluted earnings per share to range between 28 cents and 33 cents. -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. Follow @LKulikowski To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com. >To submit a news tip, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.