American Eagle Outfitters has dipped to a new 18-month low today in the wake of its third-quarter earnings report. In its latest quarter, the apparel retailer earned $99.4 million, or 45 cents per share, a 1.5% decline from the year-ago period. The company attributed this retreat to lower-than-expected sales and higher discounts.
During the quarter, revenue rose 6.9% to $744.4 million while same-store sales were up 2%. Analysts were looking for per-share earnings of 45 cents per share on $750 million in revenue. Gross margin was modestly lower at 47.4%, down from 49.5% one year ago.
Company CEO James V. O'Donnell asserted that the retailer is committed to driving future growth by building a portfolio of brands, while at the same time delivering a strong return on investment and profit improvements. For the fourth quarter, earnings are expected in a range of 67 to 70 cents per share, the high end of which matches analysts' consensus view. Same-store sales in November are expected to be slightly positive. Thanksgiving weekend showed positive traffic trends at AEO stores.
While AEO may be on the upswing for the future, today has been dreary for the shares, which have dipped 1.6% to hit their lowest point since April 2006. The stock is also facing recent resistance from its 160-week moving average, which was breached earlier this month and has yet to yield as resistance.
AEO options are seeing some attention today, most notably at the December 20 call, where almost 3,200 contracts have changed hands. Heading into today's trading, there were exactly 3,184 open calls at this in-the-money strike, implying that some of today's volume could result in new open interest.