Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) reported earnings of $66.1 million today, or $0.85 per share for its last quarter. Those numbers are down significantly from the profit of $157.2 million last year, or $1.95 a share year-over-year. Despite this decline of 58% the teen apparel maker still exceeded analysts’ expectations, or perhaps more appropriately, fears.
Abercrombie & Fitch shares rise in today’s trading
Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) rose over 5% on the earnings beat and the news that the company intended to accelerate its planned $150 million share buyback program. As of this writing, Abercrombie & Fitch was trading at $38.93 up $2.98 or 8.28%.
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The company’s revenue failed to meet analyst expectations of $1.36 billion when it came in at $1.30 billion a decline of 12% as the company blamed a same-store slump of 8% and “a challenging retail environment, particularly in the teen space.”
Direct-to-consumer revenue jumped 18% to $315 million but was tempered by U.S. net sales that fell 13% to $852 million, while international revenue declined 9% to $447 million.
“It is important that we return to positive growth, particularly in our core U.S. business, and the steps we are taking as we execute against our long-range strategic plan should put us in a position to achieve this,” A&F CEO and former chairman Mike Jeffries said in a statement.
With analysts calling for full-year earnings per share of $2.33 the company said that it expected full-year EPS of $2.15 to $2.35.
During the earnings call, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) said its board of directors approved a $150 million accelerated share repurchase to be executed during the first quarter on top of the existing authorization for 16.3 million shares.
Prior to today’s trading, Abercrombie & Fitch had gained 9% so far in 2014, but it still remained down 21% over the last 52 weeks of trading.
Activist investor pressure
Last month, CEO Mike Jeffries was stripped of his chairmanship in favor of former Sears CEO Arthur Martinez, and this week saw activist shareholder Engaged Capital nominated a slate of five candidates to the Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) board.
“For far too long, stockholders have suffered under the failed leadership of a board that has lacked the independence necessary to properly act as our fiduciaries,” Glenn Welling, chief investment officer at Engaged Capital, wrote in a statement.