FINANCE

Abercrombie & Fitch to face class-action suit on gift cards

BY Staff Writer

New York City — Abercrombie & Fitch Co. was ordered by U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman in Chicago to answer a class-action lawsuit by shoppers who claimed the retailer voided holiday gift cards that said they had "no expiration date," Reuters reported.

In December 2009, Abercrombie ran a promotion in which it issued nearly 200,000 gift cards valued at $25 each to shoppers who spent at least $100 on a single purchase.

According to court papers, Abercrombie voided the cards around Jan. 30, 2010, explaining that the cards were enclosed in sleeves containing that expiration date, the report said.

In court papers, retailer insisted that the cardholders be forced to sue separately because they were too different from one another to sue as a group. Among other things, the retailer said some people got their cards in stores and others online, and some with the sleeve and others without.

But the judge said it was fair to certify a class of plaintiffs who still hold the cards, and plaintiffs who threw out their cards after being told they had expired or were void.

"The class in this case consists primarily of individuals holding an Abercrombie promotional gift card whose value was voided on or around January 30, 2010. That criterion is as objective as they come," Feinerman wrote.

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FINANCE

Men’s Wearhouse narrows Q4 loss

BY Staff Writer

Houston — The Men’s Wearhouse reported a net loss of $3.8 million for the quarter that ended Jan. 28, compared with a net loss of $14.1 million a year earlier, as it cut costs and increased prices.

The results beat forecasts, and the company said it expects 2012 income to be higher than expectations.

Revenue was $562.2 million, up from $542.1 million.

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FINANCE

Hot Topic reports Q4 profit on cost-cuts

BY Staff Writer

City of Industry, Calif. — Hot Topic Inc. earned $9 million in the three months that ended Jan. 28, compared with a loss of $578,000 in the year-ago period, on reduced spending.

Revenue in the fourth quarter slipped 1% to $209.9 million, from $212.4 million. Same-store sales increased 1.3%.

In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, Hot Topic took a charge of $12.8 million related to a cost-cutting plan and a write-down of ShockHound, its music download and social networking website, which it shut down in May. The company said its selling, general and administrative expenses fell almost $10 million from a year ago, to $59.4 million for the quarter.

The retailer closed six Hot Topic stores during the quarter and had 628 at the end of the year. It opened four Torrid stores and closed two, giving it a total of 148 at the end of the period.

For the full year, Hot Topic lost $1.8 million, less than its loss of $8.2 million in fiscal 2010. Revenue was down 1% to $697.9 million, from $708.2 million.

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