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‘External pressures’ lead to Q1 net loss for A&F

NEW ALBANY, Ohio — Abercrombie & Fitch shrunk its net loss during the first quarter of 2013 but still reported thin financial results. Net loss for the quarter was $7.2 million, compared to $21.3 million during the first quarter of 2012. The results missed analysts’ estimates.

Net sales dropped 9% from $921.2 million to $838.8 million. Same-store sales plummeted 17%. Direct-to-consumer sales fell 6%. U.S. same-store sales fell 14%; international comparable sales were down 16%.

The retailer attributed its first quarter performance partially to the impact of external pressures as well as inventory shortages, which the company said are mostly resolved. The retailer also expects improved performance due to progress on cross-functional initiatives.

“Comparable sales trends progressively improved during the quarter and with the inventory headwinds largely behind us, we expect to see continued sequential improvement in the second quarter,” said Mike Jeffries, chairman of the board and CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch.

Jeffries has been making headlines in recent weeks because of controversial comments he made seven years ago about the aspirational brand’s target market — with particular emphasis on who isn’t the target market. His comments have been resurrected on social media sites, sparking renewed debate about body image issues, bullying and discrimination. The controversial comments, which the CEO says have been taken out of context even prompted a Glen Ellyn teen to organize a protest that got her a face-to-face with Jeffries and Los Angeles-based writer Greg Karber to launch a campaign wherein he donated A&F clothing to homeless people. 

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