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By
Reuters
Published
Feb 10, 2015
Reading time
2 minutes
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Urban Outfitters, Aeropostale beat forecasts on strong U.S. holiday sales

By
Reuters
Published
Feb 10, 2015

U.S. apparel retailers Urban Outfitters Inc and Aeropostale Inc reported better-than-expected quarterly sales after holiday sales in the United States rose the most since 2011.

Urban Outfitters shares rose 7.5 percent in extended trading, while Aeropostale's stock jumped 21.2 percent.

The National Retail Federation, which had forecast retail sales to rise 4.1 percent this holiday season, estimated total sales rose 4 percent to $616 billion.

The holiday season, which typically generates about 30 percent of sales and nearly 40 percent of profit for retailers, this year saw a weak Black Friday weekend and a slow Super Saturday, the weekend before Christmas.

However, retail sales picked up in the final stretch of December helped by falling gas prices.

Net sales increased to $1.01 billion for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31 from $905.9 million a year earlier, Urban Outfitters said. Comparable sales at its retail segment rose 6 percent.

Analysts on an average had expected sales of $988.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Aeropostale's net sales fell 11 percent to $594.5 million in the quarter ended Feb. 1, but was ahead of the $577.7 million that analysts expected.

The company estimated a loss per share of 1-6 cents, better than its forecast of 25-30 cents due to stronger-than-expected sales, margins, and cost management in January.

The mall-based retailer, known for its P.S. from Aeropostale brand, also said it appointed David Dick as chief financial officer replacing Marc Miller, who will take over as chief operation officer.

The company said it hoped his extensive financial and retail experience will support corporate goals as management looks to execute Aeropostale's turnaround.

Meanwhile, rival retailer Gap Inc raised its profit forecast for the year to $2.86 to $2.87 per share, from its previous estimate of $2.73 to $2.78, as net sales rose 3 percent in the holiday quarter, from a year earlier.

Quarterly net sales at Gap were primarily driven by an 11 percent increase in its Old Navy Global brand compared with flat growth a year earlier, the company said.

Gap's shares were up 1 percent in extended trading.

Before the close, Urban Outfitters' stock was largely flat from a year ago, while Aeropostale's stock had lost 60 percent of its value.

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