Business World

Saturday 15 December 2018

Abercrombie lifts forecast as chairman departs on high

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell

Nick Turner

Abercrombie & Fitch shares surged after the clothing chain boosted its fourth-quarter forecast, letting executive chairman Arthur Martinez announce his retirement on a high note.

Mr Martinez will step down on February 3 when the fiscal year ends, the company said yesterday. The 78-year-old has been chairman since 2014, the year when long-time CEO Mike Jeffries departed and the once-hip clothing brand set out to regain its cachet with shoppers.

The upbeat outlook sent the shares up as much as 10pc to $21.92 in New York, marking their biggest intraday gain since November. The stock climbed 45pc last year, rebounding from six straight years of decreases.

Mr Martinez's departure follows a slow recovery from slumping sales and a leadership void in the top job. The company had no permanent CEO until its chief merchandising officer, Fran Horowitz, stepped into the role last year. Since then, the retailer's Hollister chain has helped fuel a turnaround.

Mr Martinez, the former boss of Sears Roebuck & Co, will hand the chairman role to Terry Burman, who already serves as lead independent director.

"With the company on a solid trajectory, this is the right time to hand over board leadership to Terry," Mr Martinez said.

Abercrombie now expects same-store sales to grow in the high single digits, up from a previous projection in the low single digits. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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