Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) Rebounding From Weak Back-To-School Season, But Aeropostale (ARO) Struggles

 @MeaganKaym.clark@ibtimes.com
on October 10 2013 11:33 AM
Customers wait in line at an Aeropostale store in New York
Customers wait in line at an Aeropostale store in New York Reuters

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF), American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) and Hollister Co., a brand of Abercrombie & Fitch, expected more demand from back-to-school shoppers, but when shoppers didn't come through for them, the retailers slashed prices 20 percent to 35 percent. Now some of the teen clothing retailers are raising prices again.

The outlier has been Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO), which also cut prices for the back-to-school season but has kept them low. Aeropostale's stores cut prices of their jeans, graphic tees, hoodies, sweaters and tops by 36 percent during the back-to-school season, and prices continued to fall by nearly 13 percent the last week of September.

Aeropostale also is an outlier because it continues to struggle, according to a Goldman Sachs note released Thursday.  

"ARO's dramatic assortment overhaul, introduced this BTS [back-to-school] season, features high-risk fashion items we see priced too high for its customer," Goldman Sachs analyst Lindsay Drucker Mann wrote. "ARO's current high clearance position suggests product is not moving despite price cuts, underscoring the product is not resonating; further price cuts to fashion with higher average unit costs leaves ARO's margins in a precarious position."

During the last week of September, American Eagle’s prices rebounded by 25 percent, Hollister’s by 23 percent and Abercrombie & Fitch’s by 8 percent. During back-to-school season, American Eagle slashed prices by 32 percent, just under Aeropostale. Hollister cut prices by 22 percent, and Abercrombie & Fitch slashed prices by only 3 percent. 

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