Abercrombie & Fitch says sales improving with Hollister’s help

Lauren Fedor
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As part of a strategy shift, the company has stopped hiring based on physical appearance
Clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch said yesterday that its business is recovering, buoyed by the strong performance of its Hollister brand.

Abercrombie shares rose nearly 12 per cent yesterday after the company reported that same-store sales fell eight per cent in the first quarter, less than the 8.7 per cent analysts had on average expected. Comparable sales at Hollister, which is marketed to teenagers, fell six per cent, far less than the 8.9 per cent decline analysts had expected.

Abercrombie said that it expects sales to continue to improve in the remaining three quarters.

Executives credited the improved sales figures to changes in the company’s marketing strategy. In recent months, the brand has removed dim lighting and loud music from some of its stores, and relaxed restrictions for hiring sales staff based on physical appearance.

But analysts say the company still has a long way to go. FBR Capital Markets analyst Susan Anderson said: “There’s really a lot of things they’re working on right now, but (a turnaround) is not going to really happen overnight.”

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