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Entire sector faces near term challenges – Aeropostale CEO
11
Mar '11
Aeropostale Inc, a mall-based specialty retailer of casual apparel for young women and men, reported results for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2010, as well as provided guidance for the first quarter and full year fiscal 2011.

Fourth Quarter Performance

Diluted net earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 were $0.95 per diluted share, including $0.03 per share unfavorable impact due to a higher than expected effective tax rate. The Company reported net earnings of $0.99 per diluted share in the fourth quarter last year.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, net sales increased 5% to $839.3 million, from $801.2 million in the year ago period. Same store sales for the fourth quarter decreased 3%, compared to a same store sales increase of 9% last year.

Full Fiscal Year Performance

Diluted net earnings for fiscal 2010 were $2.49 per share, including the aforementioned $0.03 per share impact due to a higher than expected effective tax rate and a previously disclosed after tax charge of $0.04 per diluted share resulting from the third quarter retirement plan payment to the Company's Chairman and former Chief Executive Officer. The Company reported net earnings of $2.27 per share in the same period last year.

Net sales for fiscal 2010 increased 8% to $2.400 billion, from $2.230 billion in the year ago period. Same store sales for fiscal 2010 increased 1%, compared to a same store sales increase of 10% last year.

Thomas P. Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, commented, "In 2010 the Aeropostale brand continued to build momentum and popularity, we opened our flagship Times Square store, and we continued the roll-out of our children's concept 'P.S. from Aeropostale.' While we are proud of our many accomplishments, our performance in the back-half was below our expectations. The teen retail environment was highly promotional and we believe that we did not execute to our full potential. Moving into 2011, we recognize our opportunities and are more determined than ever to show the power of the Aeropostale brand."

First Quarter and Full Year 2011 Guidance

For the first quarter of fiscal 2011, the Company expects earnings in the range of $0.35 to $0.38 per share, compared to earnings of $0.48 per share last year. For the full year, the Company expects net earnings in the range of $2.20 to $2.40 per diluted share.

Mr. Johnson, continued, "Our outlook for the first quarter reflects the impact from clearing through holiday inventories, and our outlook for the full year reflects industry wide inflationary pressures. As we look forward into 2011, we recognize that the entire sector faces near term challenges. We are, however, focused on leveraging our flexible promotional business model to navigate through the current environment and delivering on our initiatives to position ourselves for future growth."

E-commerce

Net sales from the Company's e-commerce business for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 increased 21% to $77.3 million, from $63.8 million in the year ago period. Net sales from the Company's e-commerce business for fiscal 2010 increased 24% to $160.2 million, from $129.0 million in the year ago period.

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