American Eagle Outfitters profits, revenue down

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American Eagle Outfitters had a rough holiday quarter and an even tougher 2013, and the South Side teen clothing retailer’s interim CEO described the whole experience as “highly disappointing.”

The company’s outlook for the spring quarter isn’t much better.

American Eagle this morning reported a profit of $10.5 million, or 5 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Feb. 1, as compared to $94.8 million, or 47 cents per share, during the same period a year earlier.

After adjusting for one-time items, American Eagle earned 27 cents per share — a penny above the expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Financial — compared to 55 cents a year earlier.

Total revenue in the fourth quarter fell 7 percent to $1.04 billion from $1.12 billion a year earlier. Sales in stores open at least a year, a gauge known as comparable store sales, fell 7 percent.

For the full fiscal year, American Eagle produced a profit of $83 million, or 43 cents per share, compared to $232 million, or $1.16 per share, for the previous year. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share of 74 cents came in slightly ahead of analysts’ projections.

Net revenue for the full year fell 5 percent to $3.31 billion from $3.48 billion, as sales in stores open at least a year fell 6 percent.

Jay Schottenstein, the company’s executive chairman who took over as temporary CEO after chief executive Robert Hanson left in January, said in this morning’s announcement: “While tough macro conditions have persisted in our retail sector, our merchandise and overall customer experience fell short of expectations.

“We’re taking steps to bring greater focus and excitement to our product offering and better engage our core customers. Our brands remain incredibly strong and I’m confident in our ability to executive the strategic plan and resume long-term profitable growth.”

Several of the mall-based teen retailers have performed sluggishly of late, including Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale.

American Eagle said conditions in the first quarter now underway continue to be challenging. Bad weather around the country has hurt many retailers, keeping consumers home and diverting their dollars elsewhere.

The company is now projecting earnings in the spring quarter to be flat. Analysts had been looking for 13 cents per share.

Teresa F. Lindeman: or at 412-263-2018.

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