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Weak sales growth hits American Eagle outlook; shares slide

By Aditi Sebastian
An Omani man passes in front of an American fashion brand, American Eagle Outfitters in City Center Mall in Muscat

By Aditi Sebastian

American Eagle Outfitters Inc <AEO.N> forecast disappointing current quarter profit after its same-store sales missed quarterly estimates on Wednesday, hurt by weak demand for warm weather apparel and a late start to the back-to-school season.

Shares of the Pittsburgh-based company fell as much as 15% to a near two-year low of $13.83.

Company executives said apparel including shorts, sold under its mainstay American Eagle brand for spring and summer, missed expectations as May was cooler than expected.

"The issues were largely concentrated in certain warm weather apparel categories, which were affected by unseasonable weather," Chief Executive Officer Jay Schottenstein told analysts.

American Eagle has been trying to boost its sales by offering new trends at affordable prices as it faces stiff competition from rivals such as European brands H&M and Zara as well as American apparel makers who are launching trendier styles.

Its denim collection that helped the company report solid results in the previous quarter was not strong enough to offset a slowdown in quarterly sales growth.

"Outside of denim, collections in American Eagle were a little bland and 'samey' this season. [This] in a market where demand was already soft, that did little to stimulate consumers into spending money," said Neil Saunders, managing director of research firm GlobalData Retail.

Rival teen-apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co <ANF.N> too had reported sluggish same-store sales.

Its Aerie label, which includes intimate wear and activewear and competes with L Brand's <LB.N> Pink, was a bright spot in the reported quarter, with its same-store sales rising 16%.

Overall, comparable-store sales rose 2% in the second quarter ended Aug. 3, below the analyst average estimate of a 3.05% rise, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

For the third quarter, it expects an adjusted profit of about 47 cents to 49 cents per share, based on a low-to-mid single digits rise in same-store sales. Analysts forecast the retailer to earn 52 cents and sales growth of 4.1%.

Net income rose 7.7% to $64.98 million in the second quarter. Total net revenue rose 7.9% to $1.04 billion. Wall Street had estimated revenue of $1.01 billion.

(Reporting by Aditi Sebastian in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Arun Koyyur)