Editors' pick: Originally published March 2.
Even after a challenging holiday season, there are glimmers of hope for Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) .
On Thursday, Abercrombie reported fourth-quarter earnings of 71 cents a share on $1.04 billion in revenue, lower than estimates for earnings of 75 cents a share on $1.05 billion, according to analysts surveyed at Factset.
For the full year, Abercrombie reported a net loss of 6 cents a share, steeper than the loss of 4 cents a share Wall Street was looking for and revenue of $3.3 billion, in line with expectations.
The company's same-store sales fell 6% in the U.S. for the fourth quarter versus estimates for a 3.5% slip. But there were two positive callouts that may have Wall Street cautiously optimistic on the year ahead.
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First, international sales declined by only 4%, compared to the third quarter when they plunged a staggering 10%. CEO Fran Horowitz, who was officially appointed to the role in early February, said sales internationally improved "measurably."
Second, while Abercrombie & Fitch's comparable store sales fell a whopping 13%, Hollister's same-store sales saw a 1% growth. Considering how challenging the mall environment was during the holidays, sales growth at Hollister, which is the company's largest chain, may have come as a nice surprise to investors.
Abercrombie's shares surged 14% on the news.
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TheStreet talked with Horowitz about her outlook for the year ahead and the mall scene more broadly. What follows is an edited and condensed version of our conversation.