By  on November 28, 2012

Shares of Aéropostale Inc. fell 7.3 percent in afterhours trading today after chief executive officer Thomas Johnson said the company was steering a “cautious” path for the holiday season. The stock dropped $1.03 to $13.09. Investors expected bigger things from the chain and during the normal trading session pushed the stock up 6.1 percent to $14.12.

“While our performance over the Black Friday weekend was encouraging, the environment during the first few weeks of November was challenging,” said Thomas Johnson, chief executive officer. “As a result, we continue to be cautious for the remainder of the quarter given the inconsistency we are seeing in our business against the backdrop of a highly promotional environment.”

The company saidfourth-quarter adjusted earnings would fall to a range of 36 cents to 41 cents a diluted share — down from 44 cents a year earlier and below the 54 cents analysts were projecting.

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Aéropostale’s third-quarter net income inched up 3.5 percent to $24.9 million, or 31 cents a share, from $24.1 million, or 30 cents, a year ago. Earning per share came in 2 cents ahead of the 29 cents analysts projected.

Sales for the quarter ended Oct. 27 increased 1.6 percent to $605.9 million from $596.5 million. Comparable-store sales fell 2 percent after a 9 percent drop a year earlier.

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