Aber­crom­bie takes it­self off the block

Shares tum­ble to 17-year low

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS NEW YORK —

Aber­crom­bie & Fitch is no longer up for sale, a de­vel­op­ment that isn’t sit­ting well with in­vestors hop­ing for white knight to res­cue the strug­gling teen re­tailer.

Shares plunged 21 per cent to a 17-year low Mon­day.

Aber­crom­bie said in May, af­ter clos­ing dozens of un­der­per­form­ing stores, that it was it in talks with sev­eral par­ties about a po­ten­tial deal.

The com­pany re­vealed Mon­day that it has ended all such ne­go­ti­a­tions.

More peo­ple are shop­ping at lower-cost, fast-fash­ion stores like H&M and For­ever 21, and that has wreaked havoc on one­time mall main­stays like Aber­crom­bie.

Aero­postale Inc., Wet Seal and oth­ers have al­ready sought bankruptcy pro­tec­tion.

Sears last week, af­ter years of clos­ing stores and re­trench­ing, said it would close an­other 43 un­prof­itable Sears and Kmart lo­ca­tions.

It said ear­lier this year that in was un­clear if it had enough cash to stay in busi­ness through the end of the year.

Aber­crom­bie & Fitch Co., based in New Al­bany, Ohio, said that sales re­main strong at its surf-in­spired Hol­lis­ter brand and is con­tin­u­ing to work on im­prov­ing the per­for­mance at Aber­crom­bie.

In the first quar­ter, sales at es­tab­lished Hol­lis­ter stores rose 3 per cent, but they slumped 10 per cent at Aber­crom­bie.

The chain has tried to tweak its brand by dump­ing the sug­ges­tive ads that once de­fined it, and it has up­dated its look.

That has yet to turn its for­tunes around.

First-quar­ter losses were wider and rev­enue slid.

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