Shares of American Eagle Outfitters Inc. slipped in midmorning trading even after the company bested Wall Street’s estimates for the first quarter.
Net income for the period ended May 5 rose 58.2 percent to $39.9 million, or 22 cents a diluted share, from $25.2 million, or 14 cents, a year ago. Excluding restructuring charges, adjusted EPS was 23 cents. Net revenue was up 8 percent to $823 million from $761.8 million. Consolidated comparable sales rose 9 percent. By brand, American Eagle comps rose 4 percent, while Aerie comps jumped 38 percent.
Wall Street’s consensus was 22 cents on revenues of $805.2 million. Shares of American Eagle was down 0.3 percent to $22.54 at 10:21 a.m., dragged down by declines in several indices such as the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Jay Schottenstein, executive chairman and chief executive officer, said, “The first quarter marked our 13th consecutive quarter of positive comparable sales, leading to an increased operating margin and earnings growth, which exceeded our expectations.”
He noted that the retailer leveraged, in part, its “dominant jeans business” at its American Eagle brand to deliver comps gains across bricks-and-mortar stores and the e-commerce channel. The ceo added that Aerie’s body positivity movement helped it post “record growth rates” that struck a “real emotional connection with its expanding customer base.”
Schottenstein told Wall Street analysts during a conference call that the company has “an incredibly exciting new growth vehicle in Aerie” and said that the company would continue to fuel the brand’s growth to “$1 billion and way beyond that.” He also said the team’s increased focus on elevating the customer experience and driving key sales metrics had a positive impact on the company’s business. Further, sales in the digital channel rose 20 percent, with digital now representing 29 percent of the overall business.
As for the fashion content, Schottenstein said the American Eagle brand achieved its “19th straight quarter of record jeans sales.” The company is focused on developing the best new fabrics, fits and styles to maintain its lead in the jeans category, and is “looking beyond bottoms to ensure we have the best merchandise offering across categories,” he told analysts.
Charles Kessler, American Eagle’s global brand president, said comps by gender saw women’s up 3 percent and men’s gaining 7 percent. He noted that an “area of opportunity is women’s accessories.”
Jennifer Foyle, Aerie’s global brand president, noted that the 38 percent comps gain was on top of the 25 percent gain last year. Further, the three months ended represented the “14th consecutive quarter of double-digit sales growth” for the brand. She said Aerie’s online business is about 50 percent of the sales gain in the quarter.
During the quarter, the company opened four American Eagle stores, and closed two to end with 935 stores, including 118 Aerie side-by-side locations. The company also opened one Aerie stand-alone store and closed one, ending the quarter with 109 stand-alone stores. Chief financial officer Robert Madore said the company is on track to open a total of 35 to 40 Aerie stores this year.
For the second quarter, the company guided comps to rise in the midsingle digits, with EPS in the range of 27 cents to 29 cents.