When I looked at Aeropostale
Fourth-quarter net sales and comparable same-store sales were up a remarkable 33.1% and 10.3%, respectively. Given that the typical female shopper is a highly sophisticated one, it is also impressive that women's comps increased 18%. Men's comps however, declined 1% against the year-ago period.
In the conference call, CEO Julian Geiger pointed toward a "more balanced and appealing" product assortment as a reason for the improved sales. My concern when I looked into Aeropostale last November was that it was losing its cool status among youth. Geiger said it best when she asserted that there has been "too much time focusing on the pricing, and too little time focusing on the merchandise." The company appears to be responding, since she indicated that it has been "incorporating more fashion" into the lineup.
Inventories are up roughly 13% from the same period a year ago, but on a square-footage basis they are down 6%. Because of the company's efforts to become as "lean" as possible through the holiday season, by February it found itself too light in men's apparel. Chief Merchandising Officer Chris Finazzo added, "We need more inventory on the men's side of the floor, and we will have that on our floor starting Sunday" (March 11). He expects "very favorable" results on the men's side of the business as Aeropostale enters the second quarter.
As it ramps up inventory levels to meet demand for men's apparel, this should bode well, given the company's recent success among its female audience. If it is not already, Aeropostale should be high on any watch list for prospective investors looking to outfit their portfolio with some teen fashion.
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Fool contributor Jeremy MacNealy does not own shares of any companies mentioned.