What happened

Shares of Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) were up 5.4% as of 3:20 p.m. EST on Thursday, following positive forward guidance from one of its peers.

So what

With no company-specific news to report, Urban Outfitters stock surged today after competitor Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) delivered underwhelming fourth-quarter 2016 results, with overall revenue falling 7% year over year, hurt by a 5% decline in total comparable-store sales. But the company also reported a surprise increase in comparable sales at its Hollister stores. Abercrombie followed with encouraging guidance for the coming year. 

A collage of Urban Outfitters products.


More specifically, though comparable-store sales at Abercrombie & Fitch locations declined 13% in the fourth quarter, Hollister -- its largest brand -- achieved 1% growth and marked the first positive result for the brand in a year. Going forward, Abercrombie & Fitch also told investors to expect comparable sales trends for both brands to continue to improve throughout 2017. Shares of Abercrombie surged as much as 17% on the news, bringing several other industry names, including Urban Outfitters, along for the ride on this generally down day for the broader market.

Now what

Keep in mind that Urban Outfitters is slated to release its own fourth-quarter results on March 7, 2017. In the meantime, Urban Outfitters already confirmed in a press release last month that its own net sales climbed 2% year over year for the fourth quarter, to a company-record $1.03 billion, on flat comparable-retail-segment sales.

Investors should learn if Urban Outfitters expects to share Abercrombie's anticipated outperformance in the coming year when the company releases its results. And because our market is a decidedly forward-looking machine, it seems safe to expect any post-earnings movements in Urban Outfitters stock to be closely tied with what management says next week.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.