Interior of the Hollister store inside the Garden State Plaza

Abercrombie & Fitch Co., enduring a sharp decline in sales due to COVID-19-related temporary store closings, saw its net loss widen to $244.2 million in the first quarter ended May 2, from $19.2 million in the year-ago period.

On a diluted share basis, the net loss per diluted share of $3.90 in the quarter (versus a 29 cent loss a year ago) reflects adverse tax impacts of $1.45 related to valuation allowances on deferred tax assets and other tax charges and $0.62 related to asset impairment charges

Net sales fell 34 percent to $485.4 million last quarter from $734 million in the year-ago period, but digital sales grew 25 percent.

Hollister sales in the first quarter were $273 million, a 36 percent decline from last year’s $428.5 million. Abercrombie sales were $212.3 million, a 30 percent drop from $305.5 million in the year-ago period.

“I am proud of our global teams’ and partners’ perseverance and swift call to action during this unprecedented period,” said chief executive officer Fran Horowitz on Thursday morning. “We entered this fiscal year in a strong financial position, and in light of COVID-19 took immediate, strategic and aggressive steps to balance our short- and longer-term liquidity needs to best position the business for our key stakeholders.

“With the well-being of our associates, customers and communities a top priority, and to help limit the spread of COVID-19, in mid-March we temporarily closed all stores across brands outside of the APAC region. Although our physical stores were closed, we continued to engage with our customer base through social media, influencer networks, apps, online events, web sites and e-mail. Our distribution centers remained operational, enabling us to fulfill digital customer demand globally, partially mitigating lost sales from temporary store closures. For the first quarter, we registered year-over-year global digital sales growth of approximately 25 percent with acceleration in the mid-March through April period and further acceleration in May.”

“Today, roughly half of our global store base is open. With stores reopening in the U.S. and the EMEA regions, we have experienced sales productivity for reopened stores of approximately 80 percent and 60 percent, respectively, as compared to last year’s levels. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers across channels, and remain committed to, and confident in, our long-term vision including the global opportunities available to us.”

Fran Horowitz 

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