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Aéropostale Stock Drops on Holiday Caution

Chain’s fourth-quarter guidance disappoints Wall Street.

A view of the Aeropostale store at the Roosevelt Field Mall.

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 said fourth-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.