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"The first quarter results reflected mall traffic headwinds, especially early in the quarter, with improved trends over Easter and a strong digital business throughout. As we look ahead, we are taking the right steps to improve our results and adjust our business for today’s rapidly evolving retail environment. We are creating efficiencies across our organisation, as we aim to continue capitalising on the strength of our brands, product leadership and other competitive advantages. The six million shares repurchased this quarter reflect the company’s strong cash flow, healthy balance sheet and confidence in our brands and long-term strategic initiatives," said Jay Schottenstein, chief executive officer.
However, the gross profit decreased to $278 million from $293 million last year with a gross margin rate of 36.5 per cent to revenue compared to 39.2 per cent last year, a 270 basis point decline. The margin declined primarily due to high promotional activity and higher shipping costs related to a strong digital business. There was also a decline in the operating with $37 million, which includes $5 million of restructuring charges, compared to $59 million last year.
In fiscal 2017, the company plans to open a total of 35 American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie stores throughout the US, Canada and Mexico. Internationally, the company plans to open 45 licensed stores and close 2 licensed locations. (RR)
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