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Abercrombie's online investments, reopening fuel revenue beat

Reuters logo Reuters 2021-05-26
a sign above a store: FILE PHOTO: An Abercrombie & Fitch storefront sign states "SALE" at the King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia © Reuters/Mark Makela FILE PHOTO: An Abercrombie & Fitch storefront sign states "SALE" at the King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia

(Reuters) - Abercrombie & Fitch Co reported a bigger-than-expected 61% jump in first-quarter sales on Wednesday, as the apparel retailer benefited from shoppers returning to stores and its beefed up online business.

Shares rose 6% as the company also posted a surprise quarterly profit and said that the momentum had extended into the current quarter.

Online sales accounted for about half of overall first-quarter revenue as the company's investments to offer services such as curbside pickup during the health crisis paid off.

Sales at Abercrombie's brand Hollister, which accounted for 57% of total, jumped 62% in the quarter ended May 1.

The company also said early reaction "has been amazing" to its Social Tourist brand, launched in partnership with TikTok influencers Charli and Dixie D'Amelio.

The company is targeting young shoppers ahead of the back-to-school selling season through the brand.

Overall net sales rose 61% to $781.4 million in the first quarter, beating analysts' estimates of $687.4 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Sales was also lifted by an increase in traffic to brick-and-mortar stores as the U.S. economy reopened and Americans, bought more dresses and footwear with their government stimulus checks.

Abercrombie also said first-quarter sales rose 6% from pre-pandemic levels recorded in fiscal 2019.

Excluding items, the company earned 67 cents per share, while analysts on average were expecting a loss of 38 cents, helped by lesser discounting.

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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