By  on March 6, 2013

American Eagle Outfitters Inc. came close to meeting fourth-quarter projections, but warned the first quarter would be disappointing to Wall Street, pushing shares of the specialty retailer down 10.1 percent to $20.27 in trading today.

American Eagle’s fourth-quarter profits jumped 84.8 percent to $94.8 million, or 47 cents a diluted share, from $51.3 million, or 26 cents, a year earlier. The most-recent quarter benefited from an extra week versus the year-ago period.

Adjusted earnings of 55 cents a share came in 1 cent shy of the 56 cents analysts projected. Revenues for the 14 weeks ended Feb. 2 increased 8.6 percent to $1.12 billion from $1.03 billion with a comparable-store sales increase of 4 percent.

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“We remain focused on our strategic plan aimed at fortifying our brands and processes and growing our business across North America,” said Robert Hanson, chief executive officer. “Concurrently, we are laying the groundwork for transformational global expansion, while continuing to drive strong returns to our shareholders.”

Citing “macroeconomic headwinds and unfavorable weather affecting consumer spending in February,” American Eagle projected first-quarter earnings of 16 cents to 19 cents a diluted share. That’s below the 25 cents analysts projected as well as the firm’s year-ago take of 22 cents from continuing operations.

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