Looks like Dad was on to something. Shares of casual apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters
American Eagle said January sales rose nearly 32% to about $110 million; same-store sales rose a remarkable -- though not surprising if you followed the company last year -- 22%. That brings fiscal Q4 and the company's full year (ended January 29) to a close, and the numbers were impressive: 12-month revenues improved more than 31% to $1.88 billion, while comps were up 21%.
Based on these results, the company has raised its Q4 EPS guidance -- excluding a charge related to the sale of Canada's Bluenotes business, which closed December 5 -- to $1.38 or $1.39, up substantially from its previous guidance of $1.30 or $1.31. (Q4 results are scheduled for a March 2 release.) Both numbers were well ahead of last year's comparable $0.57, though American Eagle is benefiting from an easy comparison, as its 2003 performance was pretty poor.
Q1 earnings per share, meanwhile, are seen at between $0.43 and $0.45, up from $0.36 in 2004. And it's worth noting that the company has more shares outstanding now than it did at the end of last year, making its EPS growth even more impressive. It's a simple story at American Eagle for the time being: The company is getting it right, presenting attractive merchandise at fair prices.
That's something the company couldn't manage in 2003. Running a market-beating retail business is hardly easy -- American Eagle just happens to be making it look that way at the moment.
Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own shares of American Eagle.
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