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Aeropostale Losses Accelerate, Closing More Stores

By  +Follow August 23, 2013 8:15AM
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Joining a growing list of retailers to limp through the second quarter, Aeropostale, Inc. (ARO) delivered its financial report for the quarter that was short on both top and bottom lines.  The mall-based specialty retailer further delivered bleak guidance for the current quarter and said it is shuttering more stores than it originally anticipated. To a degree, the soft report was expected as the company pre-announced that sales were falling, but that didn't stop shares from getting hammered in after-hours trading.

Net sales for the quarter ended August 3 fell by 6 percent to $454.0 million from $485.3 mllion in the second quarter last year.  Wall Street was expecting revenue of $453.97 million.

The company reported a net loss of $33.7 million, or 43 cents per share, compared to a net profit of $71,000, or nil per share, in last year’s quarter.  On an adjusted based, which excludes one-time items like after-tax charges, the net loss was trimmed to $26.9 million, or 34 cents per share.  Analysts were expecting an adjusted net loss of 34 cents per share.

Same-store sales, a closely watched metric of growth that compares sales at stores open more than one year, decreased by 15 percent compared to the second quarter of 2012.  Aeropostales’ comparable sales include its e-commerce business as well.

Net sales from the e-commerce business rose 22 percent to $39.0 million from $31.9 million last year, but also included revenue from the company’s purchase of GoJane.com in November 13, 2012.

Deep discounts stung gross profit margin, which fell 740 basis points to 17.9 percent.

“Our business was pressured by a challenging teen retail environment with weak traffic trends and high levels of promotional activity.  Our results were particularly disappointing given the level of change we have registered with the Aeropostale brand in recent periods," said Thomas P. Johnson, chief executive at Aeropostale in a statement.

During the quarter, the company closed 9 Aeropostale stores and one of its P.S. from Aeropostale stores.  The New York-based company previously said that it would be closing between 15 and 20 Aeropostale stores during 2013.  Today, they hiked that number to between 30 and 40 locations.

To make matters worse, the company said it expects to lose between 21 cents and 26 cents per share during the third quarter as it continues to face hefty headwinds from a lot of promotions in the competitive teen retail environment, even through the back-to-school period.  Analysts were expecting earnings of 25 cents per share.  In the third quarter of 2012, Aeropostale banked a profit of 31 cents per share.

Companies focused on teen apparel have been getting lumped up recently as their core market seems to be shifting to different brands and what they spend their money on, often preferring electronics it seems. Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) , once one of the hottest brands around, whiffed on second-quarter results today as well, sending shares 17.7 percent lower. American Eagle (AEO) delivered soft guidance on Wednesday, pitching shares from $16.40 to $14.75.  The circle of lower sales and profits is being perpetuated as each of the companies is on a slashing prices spree trying to lure in shoppers.

Shares of ARO have had a tough month, to say the least.  From a high of $15.73 on August 1, shares have sunk 30 percent through Thursday’s close at $10.98.  The bleeding is not stopping in extended trading following the earnings report, with shares down to $9.70 an hour after the news hit.

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By  +Follow August 23, 2013 8:15AM



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