NEW ALBANY, United States — Abercrombie & Fitch surged as much as 21 percent after sales at both its namesake and Hollister Co. brands beat Wall Street’s expectations heading into the critical holiday quarter.
The company’s total comparable-store sales rose 3 percent, beating analysts’ average estimate for a gain of 1.7 percent. It marks the fifth straight quarter of growth as its rebound appears to have staying power.
Sales last quarter benefited from a 16 percent bump in digital sales growth, the company said. The online expansion comes as the company has been trying hard to woo back younger shoppers, starting a web series and adding Venmo as a payment option.
Despite the strong quarter, the company kept steady its fiscal 2018 forecast for comparable sales of between 2 percent and 4 percent. But it is going to close fewer stores than the 60 it previously forecast, shutting 40 by year-end, primarily in the U.S.
Abercrombie promoted Kristin Scott to the newly created role of president of global brands, where she will focus on improving all of the company’s lines. Scott had been president of the teen-focused Hollister brand, which has driven much of the company’s success and performed significantly better than the Abercrombie brand. Stacia Andersen, brand president of the namesake brand, will be leaving the company.
Abercrombie shares rose to as high as $20.65 in early trading. The stock has lost more than a third of its value from late August, when the company reported slowing sales momentum.
By Hema Parmar; editors: Anne Riley Moffat and Jonathan Roeder.