Abercrombie shares fall after downbeat report

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. fell Monday after a Caris & Co. analyst issued a downbeat report and lowered her estimates for the clothing retailer’s fourth-quarter and full-year profit.

Caris analyst Dorothy Lakner said Abercrombie’s sales were worse than expected in November and December, and that left investors to “wonder where the light at the end of this tunnel might be.”

Abercrombie shares fell $1.19, or 3.5 percent, to $32.39 in afternoon trading. The company is based in New Albany, Ohio.

Lakner said the chain’s performance has been suffering mostly in the U.S.

An international expansion is providing some good news. She said Abercrombie had attractive products for the holidays but sparse inventory. She said its Hollister brand fared worst of all.

Lakner now sees Abercrombie earning 81 cents per share in the fourth quarter, compared with her earlier forecast for 97 cents and an average estimate from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters for 91 cents.

Caris lowered her annual profit estimate for 2009 to 89 cents from $1.06 and for 2010 to $1.50 per share from $1.60.

Analysts on average expect Abercrombie to earn 95 cents per share in 2009 and $1.71 per share in 2010.