Abercrombie (ANF) Isn't Pulling In the Cool Crowd

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) just isn't pulling in the cool crowd like it used to. The clothing retailer, which typically markets to teenagers, reported its seventh straight quarter of falling same-store sales. For the quarter, comparable-store sales fell 14%, down 14% in the U.S. and 15% internationally. August and September marked the weakest months of the quarter.

The embattled retailer, well-known for its half-clad, all-American models, is trying to draw consumers back to its stores, even if it means expanding its definition of an ideal target market. During an analyst meeting earlier in this month, executives said they will expand the sizes and fits of its clothing by spring in an attempt to attract increased sales. The company came under fire earlier this year when comments Jefferies made in 2006 that the brand only wanted to "market to cool, good-looking people" resurfaced. Currently, the store offers women's sizes no bigger than a large.

The company, which pre-announced figures earlier in the month, reported adjusted net income of 52 cents a share, excluding one-time charges related to its restructuring plans for lingerie stores Gilly Hicks. The figure was  7 cents lower than analysts surveyed by Yahoo! Finance had expected.

Including one-time items, the New Albany, Ohio-based business recorded a net loss of $15.6 million, compared with net income of $84 million in the year-ago quarter. Total revenue of $1.03 billion, 12% lower than a year ago, was $30 million less than what analysts expected. 

"Our results for the third quarter reflect weakness in top-line performance, which we expect to continue in the fourth quarter. However, we continue to work hard to offset these conditions and are aggressively pursuing initiatives we believe will improve the sales trend as we go forward," said CEO Mike Jefferies in a statement.

In premarket trading, shares had fallen 2.5% to $34.12. Year to date, the stock has plunged 27.1%.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Abercrombie & Fitch as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. The team has this to say about its 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 reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share."

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