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Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. pulled back Wednesday, as the apparel and accessories retailer’s quarterly results and outlook were good, but apparently not good enough to keep fueling the stock’s recent rocket ride to record highs.

The stock
fell 2.6% in premarket trading, after rising in 13 of the past 14 sessions to close Tuesday at a record high. It has run up 58.6% year to date, after rocketing 285.1% in 2023, which was the stock’s best yearly performance since it went public in September 1996.

For the fiscal fourth quarter to Feb. 3, net income rose to $158.4 million, or $2.97 a share, from $38.3 million, or 75 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. That beat the FactSet consensus for earnings per share of $2.83.

Gross margin improved by 7.2 percentage points to 62.9%, due primarily to higher average unit retail sales and lower freight and material costs.

Sales grew 21.1% to $1.453 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $1.429 billion. With sales coming in 1.67% above expectations, that was the smallest beat margin since the company missed expectations in the second quarter of 2022, according to FactSet data.

Sales of Abercrombie branded stores jumped 34.8% to $755.2 million and Hollister sales increased 9.1% to $697.7 million.

Same-store sales, or sales of stores open at least a year, rose 16%.

Looking ahead, the company expects first-quarter sales to be up in the “low double-digits” percentage range, while the current FactSet consensus of $897 implies 7.3% growth.

For fiscal 2024, sales are expected to be up 4% to 6%, while the FactSet consensus of $4.43 billion implies a 3.4% rise.

“The success of our playbook gives us confidence that we can now shift more of our focus to expanding our global customer base,” said Chief Executive Fran Horowitz. “This year, our goal is to deliver sustainable, profitable growth while making the necessary investments to build and support our longer-term ambition of $5 billion in global sales.”

The stock has hiked up 81.5% over the past three months through Tuesday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF
has rallied 15.6% and the S&P 500 index
has gained 11.6%.

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