Abercrombie, Gap forecasts signal tough holiday quarter for retailers

Fri Nov 18, 2016 12:01pm EST
 
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By Gayathree Ganesan

(Reuters) - Bleak fourth-quarter sales forecast from Abercrombie & Fitch Co (ANF.N: Quote) and Gap Inc (GPS.N: Quote) raised fresh concerns that apparel retailers were in for another tough holiday season as fewer shoppers visit malls and continue to spend less on clothes.

Shares of Abercrombie, which reported a much steeper-than- expected 6 percent decline in same-store sales, fell as much as 14.35 percent on Friday.

Gap's shares fell 15.14 percent. Gap on Thursday said same-store sales fell 3 percent.

Both companies have been closing stores and investing their online businesses as they try to cope with rapidly changing consumer tastes and stiff competition from Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O: Quote) and fast-fashion retailers such as H&M (HMb.ST: Quote) and Inditex's (ITX.MC: Quote) Zara.

But their efforts to turnaround their businesses have shown little traction.

Abercrombie's sales have fallen for 15 straight quarters, while those of Gap have declined for seven.

To be sure, the holiday season is expected to be challenging for all retailers including department store operators such as Macy's Inc (M.N: Quote) and Kohl's Corp (KSS.N: Quote).

"It is tough overall, and it is tougher for teen," Wolfe Research analyst Adrienne Yih told Reuters.   Continued...

 
A woman walks by a discount sign at an Abercrombie & Fitch store at a shopping mall in Garden City, New York, U.S. on November 28, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo