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American Eagle’s (AEO) Holiday Comps Surge, Keeps FY17 View


American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. AEO is one among the beneficiaries of this year’s robust holiday sales season, which set cash registers at retail stores ringing. The solid holiday feat was driven by favorable economic scenario as well as heightened consumer spending.

Coming back to American Eagle, the company posted solid comparable store sales (comps) growth for fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 to date, which mainly comprises holiday sales. Comps rose 8% for the period. Notably, the company has been posting positive comps for 11 straight quarters. Further, the company’s quarter-to-date performance reflected sustained momentum in the fourth quarter, which drove better-than-expected Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Moreover, the company’s success in the holiday season can be attributed to record sales and strong momentum at its AE and Aerie brands. American Eagle also benefited from solid online and in-store traffic as customers responded positively to the company’s merchandising offerings.

Though American Eagle’s shares did not respond much to the news, the stock has surged 59.6% in the past six months outperforming industry’s growth of 19.1%.

Following the trend so far, the company reiterated its previously issued fourth-quarter earnings guidance. It continues to anticipate earnings per share in the range of 42-44 cents per share compared with 39 cents per share earned in the prior-year quarter. In fact, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current quarter is pegged at 44 cents per share, which is at the higher-end of the company’s guidance range.

Markedly, the aforementioned earnings guidance does not include the impacts of tax reform and potential asset impairment and restructuring charges.

American Eagle is scheduled to announce fourth quarter and fiscal 2017 results on March 8. The company sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Apart from American Eagles, other retailers like JC Penney JCP, Macy’s M and Urban Outfitters URBN have gained from the robust holiday season sales. While JC Penney posted 3.4% comps growth in this festive season, Macy’s holiday season comps improved 1.1%. Moreover, Urban Outfitters’ comparable retail sales grew 2% for the two months (ended Dec 31, 2017).

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