Abercrombie’s direct-to-consumer sales rise slightly in Q1

May 26, 2016 11:38 AM

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. didn’t have a great fiscal first quarter. The retailer, No. 58 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, today reported its overall sales declined 3.4% in the fiscal first quarter. Its direct-to-consumer sales, which include online and sales placed online within a store, rose slightly.

Even so, the retailer is optimistic that investing in marketing and omnichannel efforts that drive more consumers to buy regardless of channel will pay off with more sales in the second half of the year.

"While we are driving improvement in our stores and our marketing to better engage our customers, we are also investing in [direct-to-consumer] and omnichannel capabilities to create a seamless experience,"Arthur Martinez, Abercrombie’s executive chairman. "In April, we rolled out click-and-collect capabilities to all full-price U.S. stores. In addition, we expect to expand shipped from store internationally to Canada and the U.K. in the second quarter. Our customer has responded to these new capabilities and is increasingly leveraging these channels."

To help bolster its marketing efforts, Abercrombie last month hired former J.Crew executive Ashley Sargent Price as senior vice president and creative director of marketing. And earlier this week it named Stacia Anderson brand president of Abercrombie & Fitch and abercrombie kids, and Kristin Scott brand president of Hollister Co. Anderson was most recently senior vice president of merchandising of Target Corp. (No. 22) and Scott was executive vice president, general merchandise manager at Victoria's Secret (No. 28). Both executives are overseeing their brand’s online and offline product and customer-facing activities. And they will both report to Fran Horowitz, the retailer's president and chief merchandising officer.

For the fiscal first quarter ended April 30 Abercrombie reported:

  • Total revenue of $685.5 million down 3.4% from $709.4 million.
  • Direct-to-consumer and omnichannel sales accounted for 24% of net sales, up from 23% a year earlier. That translates to an estimated $164.5 million in direct-to-consumer sales, up slightly from an estimated $163.2 million.
  • Comparable-store sales, which include U.S. and international, declined 4%. U.S. comparable-store sales decreased 2%.
  • Net loss was $39.6 million, a slight increase from a $37.2 million loss a year ago.
  • Abercrombie, like many mall-based retailers, has been pushing to close stores and shift sales online. The retailer ended the quarter with 925 stores, seven fewer than when it started the fiscal year. 



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