Sales jumped for American Eagle Outfitters during the second quarter at a time when many brick-and-mortar stores, especially in malls, are seeing fewer shoppers stroll through the doors.
Comparable store sales — a key measure for retailers that tracks stores open at least a year — were up 2 percent, following a 3 percent increase last year.
Jeans, women’s apparel and aerie, the retailer’s intimates brand, helped drive the quarter. In particular, aerie stores saw the highest comparable sales increase, reporting a 26 percent climb, compared with 24 percent a year ago.
But the South Side-based retailer narrowed its profit in the second quarter. Net income was $21.2 million, or 12 cents per share, down from about $41.6 million, or 23 cents per share during the same period last year.
Total revenue rose 3 percent to $845 million, American Eagle reported
Wall Street seemed to like the results. American Eagle’s stock climbed about 7.7 percent to close at $12.08 on Wednesday.
Jefferies analysts noted that growth in the company’s core categories “along with green shoots in men’s tops (has been lagging category)” is encouraging. Meanwhile, the firm noted, aerie keeps gaining against rival Victoria’s Secret.
“We are impressed with [management’s] strategic initiatives and ability to grow revenues in a tough backdrop,” analysts added.
For the third quarter, the company expects comparable store sales to range flat to up low single digit. As a result, earnings per share are expected to be in the range of 36 cents to 38 cents.
“As we enter the fall season, I’m very optimistic,” Charles Kessler, global brand president, told analysts during the company’s earnings conference call.
“Although it’s still early, we have seen improving trends as far as this back-to-school season and I believe we are well-positioned this year for a better second half. We have improved product and strong marketing support with exciting events, plans to engage our customers throughout the fall and holiday seasons.”
Nationally, back-to-school spending across all retailers is expected to be strong, hitting the second highest year on record, according to the National Retail Federation, based in Washington, D.C.
Total spending for school and college combined is projected to reach $83.6 billion, a more than 10 percent increase from last year, the trade group said.
“Families are now in a state of mind where they feel a lot more confident about the economy,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “With stronger employment levels and a continued increase in wages, consumers are spending more and we are optimistic that they will continue to do so throughout the rest of the year.”
American Eagle’s online business registered its tenth quarter in a row of double-digit sales growth, the company said, with e-commerce representing 23 percent of total revenue.
Bloomberg Intelligence noted that digital retail continues to grow and may “force more store closings in a bid to reduce operating expenses. American Eagle has about 500 leases — out of more than 1,000 stores — up for renewal in the next three years.”
Source : post-gazette