Envelope-pushing clothier Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) reports its Q1 numbers tomorrow, and investors are nervous. And after the news earlier this month, that April same-store sales dropped 15% in comparison with last year, perhaps they should be. Then again, this wasn't exactly an isolated phenomenon, and one thing's for sure -- unless this "global warming" thing is for real, people will always need clothes.

After the news comes out, we'll have time a-plenty to dissect it. But in these few hours before we begin obsessing over A&F's short-term progress, let's take a moment to review what investors think about it as a long-term investment. Our tool in this endeavor: Motley Fool CAPS, where we poll more than 29,000 rated investors for their views on well over 4,000 companies, A&F among them. Here's what Fools have to say about the company.

Up or down?
Well over 500 investors have submitted ratings on A&F. Their verdict: This stock is so five minutes ago!

Eighty-seven perecnt of CAPS investors expect A&F to outperform the market, and 86% of our best investors, the CAPS All-Stars, concur. While that sounds good, it's actually a bit shy of par for the course, and only suffices to earn A&F two stars out of a possible five on CAPS.

As down as investors are on retail these days, it seems they're especially down on A&F:

Retail Group

CAPS Rating

American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO)




Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO)


Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN)


Guess? (NYSE:GES)


Abercrombie & Fitch




Wall Street vs. Main Street
Up on Wall Street, though, where people (say they) know things better than the rest of us, sentiment isn't quite so gloomy. Eight of the nine analysts we track, as they track A&F, expect the company to outperform the market -- and, indeed, it has outperformed the S&P 500 by 13 points over the last 52 weeks.

Bull pitch
Calling this firm a "best of breed teen retailer," A&F backers love the firm's high return on capital. One All-Star sums up the investing thesis particularly well: "This company will continue to be a cash machine. Yes, the clothes are overpriced, but that's the point: these kids are buying an image for themselves."

Bear pitch
The best of the bear-baiting goes like this: "Hollister success is currently hiding the decreasing favorability of its core brand and other ventures. Abercrombie & Fitch's is slipping and its Ruehl concept is a disaster."

Who said that?
To learn the identities of the wise Fools who penned these thoughts, and explore the plethora of additional financial data we've put together on the company, just click here.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 631 out of more than 29,000 raters. American Eagle Outfitters is a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.