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Abercrombie & Fitch lifts Holiday quarter comps forecast, chairman Martinez to retire

Further improvements at Abercrombie & Fitch. The transitioning retail giant raised its Q4 comp sales forecast on Monday following a “strong” Holiday season. Its shares closed the day almost 13% higher.

The Holiday quarter’s comps are now expected to range in the high-single digit percentages, up from its prior outlook of low-single digits.

“We are pleased by our performance across all brands and channels during the Holiday season, with continued strength at Hollister, and the Abercrombie brand on track to deliver positive comparable sales for the quarter,” chief executive Fran Horowitz said in a statement.

If Abercrombie meets its forecast, it will be its largest quarterly gain in at least six-and-a-half years since it posted a 9% gain in Q2 2011, Retail Metrics founder Ken Perkins told Reuters.

He, however, added that the same-store sales growth may have come at the expense of margins. Indeed, Abercrombie on Monday said that its gross margins for the quarter would be down 100 basis points compared with last year’s Q4 margins of 59.3%.

The retailer will release its Q4/full-year results on March 7.

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