FINANCE

Abercrombie & Fitch Is Target of SEC Probe

BY CSA STAFF

New Albany, Ohio, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission has opened a formal probe into trading in the company’s stock.

In a statement issued by the company on Friday, Abercrombie & Fitch said the SEC has requested more information, the first step in the formal investigation process which allows the SEC to subpoena documents and compel witnesses to testify. The SEC earlier had initiated an informal inquiry of trading in its Class A stock.

The company and some of its officers are defendants in a half-dozen class-action suits that resulted from Abercrombie & Fitch’s share drop of almost 40% last summer.

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Tuesday Morning Reports Sales for 4Q, Year

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas, Tuesday Morning Corp. posted net sales of $335.2 million in its recently completed fourth quarter, up 0.8% from the year before. For the fiscal year, sales increased 3.8% to $931.8 million. Comp-store sales declined 5.3% for the quarter and fell 4.0% for the year.

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FINANCE

December Comps Gain 3.2%

BY CSA STAFF

New York City, Aflurry of shopping in late December helped retailers post a moderately strong month of sales. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), year-over-year comp-store sales for the industry increased 3.2%. This year’s tally bested December 2004, which showed comp-store-sales growth of 2.7%.

For the two-month holiday period, comps grew 3.5%, much stronger than the 2.3% gain registered in the same two-month period in 2004. For all of 2005, chain-store comps grew 3.7%, just off the pace of the previous year. The world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores, finished the month with comps of 2.2%, near the low end of its previous guidance, while rival Target Corp. posted a gain of 4.7%. One of the glaring sales disappointments is Gap Inc., which posted a comp-store decline of 9.0% in the month. In January, the ICSC expects same-store sales to increase 3.0% to 3.5%.

Other notable comp-store performances include:

Abercrombie & Fitch, 29.0% gain

Chico’s FAS, 16.4% gain

Costco Wholesale, 7.0% gain

Guess?, 17.5% gain

New York & Co.; 10.9% gain

Sharper Image, 15.0% decline

United Retail, 16.0% gain

Wet Seal, 38.5% gain

Wilsons Leather, 7.7% decline

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