Supply Woes, Omicron Push Abercrombie, Big Lots To Issue Dull Sales View

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Abercrombie & Fitch Co and Big Lots Inc gave investors a first look at the impact Covid-19 was having on their businesses, with both retailers providing disappointing forecasts citing supply chain hurdles and the spread of the Omicron variant. However, apparel retailer Abercrombie said it had seen a pickup in post-holiday sales, sending its shares up 6.7% in extended trading.

Big Lots said it has seen a slowdown in traffic and sales trends since early January, driven by the rapid spread of Omicron and adverse weather conditions, sending its shares down 6.3% in extended trade.

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Abercrombie said it did not have enough inventory to keep pace with customer demand during the fourth quarter, resulting in lost sales during the peak holiday shopping season. However, post holiday, much of the inventory landed, helping it see an acceleration in sales, Chief Executive Officer Fran Horowitz said.

The company, which owns the Hollister apparel brand, expects net sales for the fourth quarter ended December to rise 4% to 6%, or US$ 1.17-1.19 billion, from the year-ago quarter.

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Analysts, on an average, expect fourth-quarter sales for Abercrombie at US$ 1.24 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Abercrombie also said it expects full-year 2021 sales to rise between 19% and 20% from a year ago. It had posted US$ 3.13 billion for the full year 2020.

Big Lots expects profit in the fourth quarter ending January of between US$ 1.80 and US$ 1.95 per share, far short of analysts’ expectations of US$ 2.18 per share.

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