Abercrombie and Fitch has announced that net sales in the fourth quarter ended 31 January, 2021 slumped by 5% to $1.1bn (£786m), down from $1.2bn (£857m) the previous year.
However, digital net sales increased by 34% to $639m (£456m) in the period, which the group claimed reflected a “robust growth” in every month of the quarter.
Operating expense in the same period, excluding other operating income, was approximately “flat and down” 3% compared with last year, reflecting the retailer’s “ongoing focus” on managing costs.
In its latest trading results, the fashion retailer revealed that gross profit for the full-year fell to $1.89bn (£1.35bn), down from $2.15bn (£1.53bn) the previous year, though despite the decline, the results were “better than expected”.
Additionally, as part of the group’s “ongoing global store “network optimisation initiative”, the company closed eight flagship locations during fiscal 2020. This forms part of its goal to reposition from larger format, tourist dependent flagship locations to smaller, “omni-enabled stores that cater to local customers”.
Fran Horowitz, CEO, Abercrombie and Fitch, said, “We drove 34% digital sales growth, expanded gross profit rate by 230 basis points and reduced operating expense during the fourth quarter.
“At the same time, we continued to make strategic investments to support future growth including: opening smaller, more omni-enabled experiences; adding senior level talent in key areas including marketing, data and analytics and digital; and further building-out regional teams in EMEA and APAC.”
She added: “We remain focused on controlling what we can control and ending 2020 even stronger than we started.”