The official story from this year is that Abercrombie has been to hell and back.
There were also lawsuits that took up resources and hurt people’s perception of the brand.
Then, out of nowhere, Abercrombie shocked Wall Street by announcing amazing results. Shares soared on the news. Everyone lauded Jeffries for managing expenses and putting Abercrombie on the right path.
But Samantha Panella Houser at MarketWatch cautions that the retailer’s big comeback isn’t what it seems.
The biggest indicator that Abercrombie is in trouble can be seen through its international expansion, Houser said. She wrote:
International revenue grew 37% in the third quarter of 2012. Although this may appear strong, I would make the case that this is not very robust given that the company had 68% more stores open in the international market year-over-year and its square footage was up 82%. Why did its revenue growth trail that of its store growth? Because same-store sales were down 18% internationally.
Same-store sales reflect revenue growth over the past 12 months and are the retail industry’s go-to measure for how well business is doing.
Abercrombie’s international expansion has been lauded in the past, but the fact that sales are down is troubling for the company’s strategy.
That means the retailer could actually be far from a comeback.
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