Ahead of the Bell: Aeropostale shares drop

Aeropostale shares drop after weak forecast for period including key holiday shopping season

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Aeropostale Inc. fell before Thursday's opening bell after the teen retailer issued a weak forecast for the current quarter, which includes the critical holiday shopping period.

The company said late Wednesday that it expected profit of 36 to 41 cents per share in the fiscal fourth quarter, excluding one-time items. Analysts predicted that the company would earn 54 cents per share in the three months through January.

The company was increasing promotions in the current quarter to "keep inventories in line," said Stifel Nicolaus analyst Richard Jaffe. That could hinder profit growth.

Analysts noted the company's difficulty in selling clothes that carry the Aeropostale logo, one of its core merchandise categories. Aeropostale's new executive vice president, Emilia Fabricant, should be able to help the company focus less on logo clothes and more on trendier merchandise, said KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Edward Yruma.

Still, Aeropostale's results from Black Friday, traditionally the start of the holiday shopping season, are encouraging, said Jefferies analyst Randal Konik in a note to clients.

Shares of the New York company fell $1.02, or 7.2 percent, to $13.10 in premarket trading Thursday. Shares had gained 20 percent from a 52-week low of $11.76 Oct. 31.

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