A&F loses 4% while UK retail stronger than ever

Friday, 22 June 2012

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. shed nearly 4% Thursday in Wall Street after announcing that has ideentified about another 180 stores to close over the next few years as the teen-apparel retailer's looks to improve margins in its U.S. stores. Shares were off 4% in late trading Thursday to US$31 (Rs 1,764) in recent trading. The stock has fallen 40% over the past three months.

Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Global Consumer Conference in Paris on Wednesday, Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Ramsden said these closures are oriented toward the company's A&F and kids brands, though a smaller number of Hollister Co. stores are also being closed.

Keeping on with the recent wave of executive changes in the industry (Esprit and JC Penney have witnessed the last ones in the past days), Children's Place Retail Stores, Inc. announced that Chief Operating Officer Eric Bauer has left the company. President and Chief Executive Officer Jane Elfers will oversee the company's supply chain, store operations, finance, information technology and real estate functions. Bauer, aged 49, has been COO of Children's Place since May 2011. Its shares fell 93 cents (Rs 52.9), roughly 2 per cent, to $4.81 (Rs 273.7) in midmorning trading.

Finally, in the UK, May´s retail figures threw light upon a quite gloomy prospectus: Retail sales volumes, excluding fuel, were up 0.9 per cent on the previous month and 3 per cent higher than the same month in 2011 according to the Office for National Statistics. This followed a deep, 1 per cent monthly fall in retail volumes in April.

David Kern, the chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "This increase in sales proves that excessive pessimism over the state of the UK economy is unjustified. Falling inflation is clearly playing a role in reviving consumer demand."

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