Online boosts A&F growth

US retail group Abercrombie & Fitch has increased its quarter net income by 11 per cent to US$1.47 (AU$1.42) billion, with the group buoying dwindling store sales with its e-commerce growth.

Yet the all American retailer, which has had its market squeezed by fast fashion operators like Forever 21 and H&M, missed US analyst predictions of US$1.49 (AU$1.44) billion.

Growth was largely buoyed by international and domestic online sales, with the group losing ground instore at both home and in overseas markets.

The company described sales for its fourth quarter as “flat”, with comparable sales for the quarter decreasing by one per cent and store sales decreasing by four per cent.

International comparable sales for the fourth quarter were also down by three per cent, with a sizeable decrease of 14 per cent for store sales.

In comparison, the group posted strong growth for its “direct to consumer” sales, as it increasingly pushes online sales to local and international consumers.

Sales for direct to consumer increased by over 17 percent compared to last year.

The group has a portfolio of 1,051 stores, with a third of that number the iconic Abercrombie & Fitch brand and almost half the Hollister Co chain.

It has spent the last few years expanding these two brands globally, with 139 of its store network now in international markets like France and the UK.

It is currently rumoured to be setting up Abercrombie & Fitch in Australia, with the company already confirming it will launch Hollister Co. into the country in the near future.

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