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Article by DailyStocks_admin    (07-21-08 10:41 AM)

The Daily Magic Formula Stock for 07/21/2008 is Abercrombie & Fitch Co. According to the Magic Formula Investing Web Site, the ebit yield is 15% and the EBIT ROIC is 50-75 %.

Dailystocks.com only deals with facts, not biased journalism. What is a better way than to go to the SEC Filings? It's not exciting reading, but it makes you money. We cut and paste the important information from SEC filings for you to get started on your research on a specific company.


Dailystocks.com makes NO RECOMMENDATIONS whatsoever, and provides this for informational purpose only.

BUSINESS OVERVIEW

General.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (“A&F”), a company incorporated in Delaware in 1996, through its subsidiaries (collectively, A&F and its subsidiaries are referred to as “Abercrombie & Fitch” or the “Company”), is a specialty retailer that operates stores and websites selling casual sportswear apparel, including knit and woven shirts, graphic t-shirts, fleece, jeans and woven pants, shorts, sweaters, outerwear, personal care products and accessories for men, women and kids under the Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie, Hollister and RUEHL brands. In addition, the Company operates stores under the Gilly Hicks brand offering bras, underwear, personal care products, sleepwear and at-home products for women. As of February 2, 2008, the Company operated 1,035 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The Company’s fiscal year ends on the Saturday closest to January 31, typically resulting in a fifty-two week year; but, occasionally giving rise to an additional week, resulting in a fifty-three week year. Fiscal years are designated in the consolidated financial statements and notes by the calendar year in which the fiscal year commences. All references herein to “Fiscal 2007” represent the results of the 52-week fiscal year ended February 2, 2008; to “Fiscal 2006” represent the results of the 53-week fiscal year ended February 3, 2007; and to “Fiscal 2005” represent the 52-week fiscal year ended January 28, 2006. In addition, all references herein to “Fiscal 2008” represent the 52-week fiscal year that will end on January 31, 2009.
A&F makes available on its website, www.Abercrombie.com, under “Investors, SEC Filings” free of charge, its annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), as well as A&F’s definitive annual meeting proxy statements filed pursuant to Section 14 of the Exchange Act, as soon as reasonably practicable after A&F electronically files such material with, or furnishes it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC maintains an internet site that contains electronic filings at www.sec.gov. In addition, the public may read and copy any materials A&F files with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20549. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330.
The Company has included its website addresses throughout this filing as textual references only. The information contained on these websites is not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Description of Operations.
Brands.
Abercrombie & Fitch. Targeted at 18 to 22 year-old males and females, the brand is rooted in East Coast traditions and Ivy League heritage. Abercrombie & Fitch is the essence of privilege and casual luxury. The Adirondacks supply a clean and rugged inspiration to this youthful All-American lifestyle. A combination of classic and sexy creates a charged atmosphere that is confident and just a bit provocative. Idolized and respected, Abercrombie & Fitch is timeless, and always cool.
abercrombie. Targeted at seven to 14 year-old boys and girls, the brand has the essence of privilege and prestigious East Coast prep schools. abercrombie directly follows in the footsteps of Abercrombie & Fitch. With an energetic attitude, abercrombie is popular, wholesome, and athletic. Rugged and casual with a vintage inspired style, abercrombie aspires to be like its older sibling, Abercrombie & Fitch. The perfect combination of maturity and mischief, abercrombie is the signature of All-American cool.

Hollister. Targeted at 14 to 18 year-old guys (“dudes”) and girls (“bettys”), Hollister is the fantasy of Southern California. It is the feeling of chilling on the beach with your great looking friends. Young, spirited, with a sense of humor, Hollister never takes itself too seriously. The laidback lifestyle and wholesome image combine to give Hollister an energy that’s effortlessly cool. Hollister brings Southern California to the world.
RUEHL. Targeted at 22 to 35 year-old men and women, RUEHL is the post-grad that has arrived in Greenwich Village, New York City to live the dream. Embracing its culture and artistic nature, RUEHL personifies a style that is inherently cool. Rooted in quality and tradition, RUEHL remains casual, authentic, and sexy. With sophistication and intelligence, RUEHL defines the aspirational New York City lifestyle.
Gilly Hicks. Targeted at 14 to 35 year-old women, Gilly Hicks is the cheeky cousin of Abercrombie & Fitch, inspired by the free spirit of Sydney, Australia. Gilly makes cute bras and underwear for the young, naturally beautiful and always confident girl. Classic and vibrant with a little tomboy sexiness, Gilly never takes herself too seriously. It’s the wholesome, All-American brand with a Sydney sensibility.
Each of the Company’s brands possess their own heritage and handwriting, but they share common elements and characteristics. The brands are classic, casual, confident, intelligent, privileged and possess a sense of humor.
Refer to the Financial Summary in “MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS” in ITEM 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for information regarding net sales and other financial and operational data by brand.
In-Store Experience and Store Operations.
The Company views the customer’s in-store experience as the primary vehicle for communicating the spirit of each brand. The Company emphasizes five senses – 1) sight, 2) sound, 3) smell, 4) touch and 5) energy – by utilizing visual presentation of merchandise, in-store marketing, music, fragrances and its sales associates to reinforce the aspirational lifestyles represented by the brands.
The Company’s in-store marketing is designed to convey the principal elements and personality of each brand. The store design, furniture, fixtures and music are all carefully planned and coordinated to create a shopping experience that reflects the Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie, Hollister, RUEHL or Gilly Hicks lifestyle.
The Company’s sales associates and managers are a central element in creating the atmosphere of the stores. In addition to providing a high level of customer service, sales associates and managers reflect the casual, energetic and aspirational attitude of the brands.
Every brand displays merchandise uniformly to ensure a consistent store experience, regardless of location. Store managers receive detailed plans designating fixture and merchandise placement to ensure coordinated execution of the Company-wide merchandising strategy. Standardization of each brand’s store design and merchandise presentation creates the opportunity for cost savings in store furnishings, maximizes the productivity of selling space, and enables the Company to open new stores efficiently.

Direct-to-Consumer Business.
The Company operates web-based stores for the Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie, Hollister and RUEHL brands located at their websites: www.Abercrombie.com; www.abercrombiekids.com; www.hollisterco.com; and www.RUEHL.com, respectively. Products offered at individual stores can be purchased through the respective websites. Each of the four websites reinforces the particular brand’s lifestyle and is designed to complement the in-store experience. Since the introduction of the websites, aggregate total net merchandise sales, including shipping and handling, through the direct-to-consumer business has grown consistently year-over-year to $298.0 million for Fiscal 2007, representing 8.0% of net sales. The Company believes its websites have broadened its market and brand recognition worldwide.
Marketing and Advertising.
The Company considers the in-store experience to be its main form of marketing. The Company emphasizes the five senses to reinforce the aspirational lifestyles represented by the brands. Additionally, the Company advertises on billboards and in select national publications. The stand-alone Abercrombie & Fitch flagships on Fifth Avenue in New York and on Savile Row in London represent the pinnacle of the Company’s in-store branding efforts. The stores attract a substantial number of international tourists and thus, have significantly contributed to the Company’s iconic brand reputation worldwide.

Merchandise Suppliers.
During Fiscal 2007, the Company purchased merchandise from approximately 240 factories and suppliers located throughout the world; primarily in Asia and Central and South America. In Fiscal 2007, the Company did not source more than 5% of its apparel and personal care products from any single factory or supplier. The Company pursues a global sourcing strategy that includes relationships with vendors in 34 countries and the United States (the “U.S.”). Any event causing a sudden disruption, either political or financial, in these sourcing locations could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s operations. The Company’s foreign purchases of merchandise are negotiated and settled in U.S. dollars.
All product sources, including independent manufacturers and suppliers, must achieve and maintain the Company’s high quality standards, which are an integral part of the Company’s identity. The Company has established supplier product quality standards to ensure the high quality of fabrics and other materials used in the Company’s products. The Company utilizes both home office and field employees to help monitor compliance with the Company’s product quality standards.
Distribution and Merchandise Inventory.
A majority of the Company’s merchandise and related materials are shipped to the Company’s two distribution centers (“DCs”) in New Albany, Ohio where they are received and inspected. Merchandise and related materials are then distributed to the Company’s stores and direct-to-consumer customers primarily using one contract carrier. Any event causing a sudden disruption in the operations of the DCs or in carrier operations could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s operations.
The Company’s policy is to maintain sufficient quantities of inventory on hand in its retail stores and DCs to offer customers a full selection of current merchandise. The Company attempts to balance in-stock levels and inventory turnover, and to take markdowns when required to keep merchandise fresh and current with fashion trends.
Information Systems.
The Company’s management information systems consist of a full range of retail, financial and merchandising systems. The systems include applications related to point-of-sale, inventory management, supply chain, planning, sourcing, merchandising and financial reporting. The Company continues to invest in technology to upgrade core systems to make the Company scalable, efficient and more accurate in the production and delivery of merchandise to stores. In addition, the Company invests in best practice technologies that are expected to provide a clear competitive advantage.

Seasonal Business.
The retail apparel market has two principal selling seasons, the Spring season which includes the first and second fiscal quarters (“Spring”) and the Fall season which includes the third and fourth fiscal quarters (“Fall”). As is typical in the apparel industry, the Company experiences its greatest sales activity during the Fall season due to the Back-to-School (August) and Holiday (November and December) selling seasons. This seasonal sales pattern, in which approximately 40% of the Company’s sales are realized in the Spring and approximately 60% in the Fall, results in increased inventory during the Back-to-School and Holiday selling periods.
During Spring of Fiscal 2007, the highest level of inventory, approximately $431.4 million at cost, was reached at the end of July 2007 due to the Back-to-School selling season. The lowest level of inventory, approximately $374.5 million at cost, was reached at the end of May 2007. During Fall of Fiscal 2007, the highest level of inventory, approximately $407.1 million at cost, was reached at the end of October 2007 in anticipation of the Holiday selling season beginning in November. The lowest level of inventory, approximately $300.9 million at cost, was reached at the end of December 2007.
Trademarks.
The Abercrombie & Fitch ® , abercrombie ® , Hollister Co. ® and Ruehl No. 925 ® trademarks have been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the registries of countries where stores are located or may be located in the future. An application for the Gilly Hicks trademark has been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the registries of countries where stores are located or may be located in the future. These trademarks are either registered or have applications pending with the registries of many of the foreign countries in which the manufacturers of the Company’s products are located. The Company has also registered or has applied to register certain other trademarks in the U.S. and around the world. The Company believes that its products are identified by its trademarks and, thus, its trademarks are of significant value. Each registered trademark has a duration of ten to 20 years, depending on the date it was registered and the country in which it is registered, and is subject to an infinite number of renewals for a like period upon continued use and appropriate application. The Company intends to continue the use of each of its trademarks and to renew each of its registered trademarks.
Financial Information about Segments.
In accordance with Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (“SFAS”) No. 131, “Disclosures about Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information,” (“SFAS No. 131”), the Company determines its operating segments on the same basis that it uses internally to evaluate performance. The operating segments identified by the Company are Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie, Hollister, RUEHL and Gilly Hicks. The operating segments have been aggregated and are reported as one reportable financial segment. RUEHL and Gilly Hicks were determined to be immaterial for segment reporting purposes, and are included in the one reportable segment as they have similar economic characteristics and meet the majority of the aggregation criteria in paragraph 17 of SFAS No. 131. The Company aggregates its operating segments because they meet the aggregation criteria set forth in paragraph 17 of SFAS No. 131. The Company believes its operating segments may be aggregated for financial reporting purposes because they are similar in each of the following areas: class of consumer, economic characteristics, nature of products, nature of production processes and distribution methods. Revenues and long-lived assets relating to the Company’s international operations in each of Fiscal 2007, Fiscal 2006 and Fiscal 2005 were not material and were not reported separately from domestic revenues and long-lived assets.

Other Information.
Additional information about the Company’s business, including its revenues and profits for the last three fiscal years and gross square footage of stores, is set forth under “MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS” in ITEM 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Competition.
The sale of apparel and personal care products through brick-and-mortar stores and direct-to-consumer channels is a highly competitive business with numerous participants, including individual and chain fashion specialty stores, as well as regional and national department stores. As the Company continues its international expansion, it will also face competition in European, Asian and other international markets from established regional and national chains, as well as specialty stores. Brand recognition, fashion, price, service, store location, selection and quality are the principal competitive factors in retail store and direct-to-consumer sales.
The competitive challenges facing the Company include anticipating and quickly responding to changing fashion trends and maintaining the aspirational positioning of its brands so that it can sustain its premium pricing position.
Associate Relations.
As of March 21, 2008, the Company employed approximately 99,000 associates, none of whom were party to a collective bargaining agreement. Approximately 90,000 of these associates were part-time employees.
On average, the Company employed approximately 24,000 full-time equivalents during Fiscal 2007 which included approximately 16,000 full-time equivalents comprised of part-time employees, including temporary associates hired during peak periods, such as the Back-to-School and Holiday seasons.
The Company believes it maintains a good relationship with its associates. However, in the normal course of business, the Company is party to lawsuits involving former and current associates. Refer to “ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

CEO BACKGROUND

Ms. Brisky is the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Chief Financial Officer of Vanderbilt University. She serves as the financial liaison for Vanderbilt University’s Audit, Budget and Executive Committees and is responsible for Vanderbilt University’s financial management as well as administrative infrastructure which includes such areas as facilities and construction, human resources, information systems and business operations. She served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance of Vanderbilt University from 1988 until her 1999 appointment to Vice Chancellor. Ms. Brisky has also held positions at the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University and North Carolina State University. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Simmons College, where she is Chair of the Finance Committee and a member of the Executive and Compensation Committees. Ms. Brisky also serves on the Tuition Plan Consortium Board and the Sports Authority Board of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville.

Mr. Griffin has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Ohio State University Alumni Association, Inc. since January 2004. Prior thereto, he served as the Associate Director of Athletics at The Ohio State University from 1994 to 2003, after serving more than nine years in various positions within the Athletic and Employment Services Departments at The Ohio State University. Mr. Griffin also serves as a director of Motorists Mutual Insurance Company and the Ohio Auto Club and is a member of The Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation Board of Trustees, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Commission, the Governing Committee for The Columbus Foundation and the Board of the Columbus Youth Foundation (Vice Chair).

Mr. Tuttle served as General Counsel to the Gucci Group N.V., a multi-brand luxury goods company, from 1997 until 2004, and thereafter he served as a legal consultant to that company until September 2005. Before joining the Gucci Group N.V., Mr. Tuttle maintained a litigation practice with Patton Boggs LLP, where he remains an inactive partner. Prior to joining Patton Boggs LLP in 1977, Mr. Tuttle served as Assistant U.S. Attorney, as Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States and as Solicitor for the Federal Power Commission.

Mr. Bachmann retired in 2003 as Managing Partner of the Columbus, Ohio office of Ernst & Young LLP, after serving in various management and audit engagement partner roles in his 36 years with the firm. Mr. Bachmann also serves as the lead independent director and Chair of the Audit Committee of Lancaster Colony Corporation. Mr. Bachmann also serves as a public member of the Audit Committee for The Ohio State University, as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Ohio State University Hospital and as an honorary (non-voting) member of the Board of Trustees for The Columbus Museum of Art.

Mr. Jeffries currently serves as Chairman of the Company and has done so since May 1998. Mr. Jeffries has been Chief Executive Officer of the Company since February 1992. From February 1992 until May 1998, Mr. Jeffries held the title of President of the Company. Under the terms of the Amended and Restated Employment Agreement, dated as of August 15, 2005, between the Company and Mr. Jeffries, the Company is obligated to cause Mr. Jeffries to be nominated as a director of the Company during his employment term.

Mr. Kessler has been the owner of John W. Kessler Company, a real estate development company, since 1972 and Chairman of The New Albany Company, a real estate development company, since 1988.

Mr. Golden is President of John A. Golden Associates, Inc., a financial advisory and investment firm, and a retired partner of The Goldman Sachs Group, L.P., an investment banking firm.(1)

Mr. Limato is a Senior Vice President at William Morris Agency, LLC, a talent and literary agency. Mr. Limato originally joined the Ashley Famous Agency, which subsequently became IFA, one of the predecessor agencies of International Creative Management, Inc. (“ICM”). Mr. Limato worked at ICM until 1978, and then was a senior executive at William Morris Agency before rejoining ICM in 1988, where he served as Co-President from August 1999 until June 2007. Mr. Limato returned to William Morris Agency in August of 2007.

Mr. Limato personally represents many important actors and movie stars and his company also represents numerous directors and artists in theater, music and publishing. Mr. Limato is also on the Boards of Directors for the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation, the Los Angeles Conservancy and the American Cinematheque.

MANAGEMENT DISCUSSION FROM LATEST 10K

OVERVIEW
The Company’s fiscal year ends on the Saturday closest to January 31, typically resulting in a fifty-two week year, but occasionally giving rise to an additional week, resulting in a fifty-three week year. A store is included in comparable store sales when it has been open as the same brand at least one year and its square footage has not been expanded or reduced by more than 20% within the past year.
Fiscal 2007 includes fifty-two weeks and Fiscal 2006 includes fifty-three weeks. For purposes of “ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS”, the thirteen and fifty-two week periods ended February 2, 2008 are compared to the fourteen and fifty-three week periods ended February 3, 2007. For Fiscal 2007, comparable store sales compare the thirteen and fifty-two week periods ended February 2, 2008 to the thirteen and fifty-two week periods ended February 3, 2007. For Fiscal 2006, comparable store sales compare the fourteen and fifty-three week periods ended February 3, 2007 to the fourteen and fifty-three week periods ended February 4, 2006.
The Company had net sales of $3.750 billion for the fifty-two weeks ended February 2, 2008, up 13.0% from $3.318 billion for the fifty-three weeks ended February 3, 2007. Operating income for Fiscal 2007 increased 12.5% to $740.5 million from $658.1 million for Fiscal 2006. Net income was $475.7 million in Fiscal 2007, up 12.7% from $422.2 million in Fiscal 2006. Net income per diluted weighted-average share was $5.20 for Fiscal 2007 compared to $4.59 in Fiscal 2006, an increase of 13.3%.
The Company generated cash from operations of $817.8 million in Fiscal 2007 versus $582.2 million in Fiscal 2006, resulting primarily from a reduction in inventory and sales and earnings growth. During Fiscal 2007, the Company used cash from operations to finance its growth strategy, including the opening of 58 new Hollister stores, 25 new abercrombie stores, seven new RUEHL stores, six new Abercrombie & Fitch stores and three new Gilly Hicks stores, as well as the remodeling, converting or refreshing of existing Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie, Hollister and RUEHL stores.
The Company also used excess cash in Fiscal 2007 to pay dividends of $0.70 per share, for a total of $61.3 million and to repurchase approximately 3.6 million shares of A&F Common Stock with a value of approximately $287.9 million. The Company believes that share repurchases and dividends are an important way for the Company to deliver shareholder value, but the Company’s priority will be to invest in the business to support its domestic and international growth plans. The Company continues to be committed to maintaining sufficient cash on the balance sheet to support daily operations, fund growth initiatives and provide a degree of protection against unanticipated business volatility. In addition, the Company has $250 million available, less outstanding letters of credit, under its unsecured credit agreement to support operations.

CURRENT TRENDS AND OUTLOOK
In Fiscal 2007, the Company once again produced record sales and earnings, driven by an increased gross profit rate and a lower marketing, general and administrative expense rate. The Company maintained high store sales productivity and a high operating margin, even as the Company continued to invest in the long-term positioning of its brands. The Company believes its ability to maintain the sale of full-priced merchandise and consistent high store sales productivity is a result of its commitment to offer trend-right merchandise, with the highest level of quality, and to create an exceptional in-store experience, which establishes an emotional connection with its customers.
The Company’s commitment to its brands is demonstrated by strategic investments made in the areas of stores, merchandise development and home office infrastructure, which the Company believes will enhance quality, improve productivity and support future growth. Specifically, major implementations in planning, merchandising and allocation information systems over the next year should generate supply chain improvements and serve as a platform for future growth and expansion, both domestically and internationally.
The Company believes it has significant growth potential both domestically and internationally. Domestically, the Company believes its growth potential will come from proven brands like Hollister and developing concepts like Gilly Hicks. Internationally, the Company believes its growth will come from its Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie and Hollister brands.
Recent international performance highlights the opportunity for expansion. In Fiscal 2007, the three Abercrombie & Fitch and three Hollister stores located in Canada continued to generate more than three times the sales productivity of the average U.S. counterpart and the Abercrombie & Fitch London flagship generated substantial sales per selling square foot similar to the strong performance of the Fifth Avenue flagship. “Tourist” stores, such as Fifth Avenue in New York, Ala Moana in Hawaii and Aventura Mall in Miami, are among the top performing stores in the chain. Additionally, international direct-to-consumer sales increased 72.4% from Fiscal 2006.
In 2008, the Company plans to open one Abercrombie & Fitch store, three abercrombie stores and three Hollister stores in Canada. The Company also plans to enter the U.K. market with Hollister with the opening of four shopping center-based stores in 2008. The first store is scheduled to open in October at Brent Cross Shopping Centre, outside of London.
Construction is currently underway for the first Hollister flagship in the SoHo area of New York City. The multi-level flagship is scheduled to open in Spring 2009. The Company anticipates the Hollister flagship to fortify the iconic status of the brand in order to support its international growth. Construction is also currently underway for the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship in Tokyo’s Ginza district, with a planned opening in late 2009. Opportunities are also being assessed for the Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister brands in continental Europe and other sites in Japan.
In addition to a focus on the domestic and international expansion of existing iconic brands, the Company also views new concepts as an integral part of its long-term strategy.
In January 2008, the Company launched its fifth concept, Gilly Hicks. This concept provides the opportunity to expand the existing emotional connection with the Company’s female customers by offering bras, underwear, personal care products, sleepwear and at-home products. The Company operated three Gilly Hicks stores at the end of Fiscal 2007 and plans to open 15 stores in Fiscal 2008.

CURRENT TRENDS AND OUTLOOK
In Fiscal 2007, the Company once again produced record sales and earnings, driven by an increased gross profit rate and a lower marketing, general and administrative expense rate. The Company maintained high store sales productivity and a high operating margin, even as the Company continued to invest in the long-term positioning of its brands. The Company believes its ability to maintain the sale of full-priced merchandise and consistent high store sales productivity is a result of its commitment to offer trend-right merchandise, with the highest level of quality, and to create an exceptional in-store experience, which establishes an emotional connection with its customers.
The Company’s commitment to its brands is demonstrated by strategic investments made in the areas of stores, merchandise development and home office infrastructure, which the Company believes will enhance quality, improve productivity and support future growth. Specifically, major implementations in planning, merchandising and allocation information systems over the next year should generate supply chain improvements and serve as a platform for future growth and expansion, both domestically and internationally.
The Company believes it has significant growth potential both domestically and internationally. Domestically, the Company believes its growth potential will come from proven brands like Hollister and developing concepts like Gilly Hicks. Internationally, the Company believes its growth will come from its Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie and Hollister brands.
Recent international performance highlights the opportunity for expansion. In Fiscal 2007, the three Abercrombie & Fitch and three Hollister stores located in Canada continued to generate more than three times the sales productivity of the average U.S. counterpart and the Abercrombie & Fitch London flagship generated substantial sales per selling square foot similar to the strong performance of the Fifth Avenue flagship. “Tourist” stores, such as Fifth Avenue in New York, Ala Moana in Hawaii and Aventura Mall in Miami, are among the top performing stores in the chain. Additionally, international direct-to-consumer sales increased 72.4% from Fiscal 2006.
In 2008, the Company plans to open one Abercrombie & Fitch store, three abercrombie stores and three Hollister stores in Canada. The Company also plans to enter the U.K. market with Hollister with the opening of four shopping center-based stores in 2008. The first store is scheduled to open in October at Brent Cross Shopping Centre, outside of London.
Construction is currently underway for the first Hollister flagship in the SoHo area of New York City. The multi-level flagship is scheduled to open in Spring 2009. The Company anticipates the Hollister flagship to fortify the iconic status of the brand in order to support its international growth. Construction is also currently underway for the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship in Tokyo’s Ginza district, with a planned opening in late 2009. Opportunities are also being assessed for the Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister brands in continental Europe and other sites in Japan.
In addition to a focus on the domestic and international expansion of existing iconic brands, the Company also views new concepts as an integral part of its long-term strategy.
In January 2008, the Company launched its fifth concept, Gilly Hicks. This concept provides the opportunity to expand the existing emotional connection with the Company’s female customers by offering bras, underwear, personal care products, sleepwear and at-home products. The Company operated three Gilly Hicks stores at the end of Fiscal 2007 and plans to open 15 stores in Fiscal 2008.

The following measurements are among the key business indicators reviewed by various members of management to gauge the Company’s results:
• Comparable store sales by brand, by product and by store, defined as year-over-year sales for a store that has been open as the same brand at least one year and its square footage has not been expanded or reduced by more than 20% within the past year;

• Direct-to-consumer sales growth;

• International and flagship stores performance;

• New store productivity;

• IMU;

• Selling margin, defined as sales price less original cost, by brand and by product category;

• Stores and distribution expense as a percentage of net sales;

• Marketing, general and administrative expense as a percentage of net sales;

• Store metrics such as sales per gross square foot, sales per selling square foot, average unit retail, average number of transactions per store, average transaction values, store contribution (defined as store sales less direct costs of running the store), and average units per transaction;

• Markdown rate;

• Gross profit rate;

• Operating income and operating income as a percentage of net sales;

• Net income;

• Inventory per gross square foot; and

• Cash flow and liquidity determined by the Company’s current ratio and cash provided by operations.
While not all of these metrics are disclosed publicly by the Company due to the proprietary nature of the information, the Company publicly discloses and discusses several of these metrics as part of its financial summary and in several sections within the Management’s Discussion and Analysis.

FISCAL 2007 COMPARED TO FISCAL 2006
FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS
Net Sales
Fourth quarter net sales for the thirteen week period ended February 2, 2008 were $1.229 billion, up 7.9% versus net sales of $1.139 billion for the fourteen week period ended February 3, 2007. The net sales increase was attributed primarily to the net addition of 91 stores and a 46.8% increase in direct-to-consumer business (including shipping and handling revenue), partially offset by an extra selling week in the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2006 and the resulting impact of the calendar shift in Fiscal 2007 due to Fiscal 2006 being a 53-week fiscal year, as well as a 1% decrease in comparable store sales.
Comparable store sales by brand for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 were as follows: Abercrombie & Fitch increased 1% with men’s comparable store sales increasing by a low double-digit and women’s decreasing by a mid single-digit; abercrombie decreased 3% with boys’ increasing by a mid single-digit and girls’ decreasing by a mid single-digit; Hollister decreased 2% with dudes’ increasing by a high single-digit and bettys’ decreasing by a mid single-digit; and RUEHL decreased 19% with men’s decreasing by a high single-digit and women’s decreasing by the high twenties.
Comparable regional store sales ranged from increases in the high teens to decreases in the mid single-digits. Stores located in Canada and the Southwest and North Atlantic regions had the strongest comparable store sales performance, while stores located in the South, Midwest and West regions had the weakest comparable store sales performance on a consolidated basis.
From a merchandise classification standpoint across all brands, stronger performing masculine categories included graphic tees, fragrance and fleece, while pants, jeans and knits posted negative comparable sales. In the feminine businesses, across all brands, stronger performing categories included graphics tees, jeans and sweaters, while knits and fleece posted negative comparable sales.
Direct-to-consumer net merchandise sales, which are sold through the Company’s websites and catalogue in the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007, were $108.6 million, an increase of 45.2% versus last year’s fourth quarter net merchandise sales of $74.8 million. Shipping and handling revenue for the corresponding periods was $15.6 million in Fiscal 2007 and $9.8 million in Fiscal 2006. The direct-to-consumer business, including shipping and handling revenue, accounted for 10.1% of total net sales in the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 compared to 7.4% in the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2006. The increase was driven by store expansion, both domestically and internationally, improved in-stock inventory availability, an improved targeted e-mail marketing strategy and improved website functionality.
Gross Profit
Gross profit during the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 was $825.6 million compared to $755.6 million for the comparable period in Fiscal 2006. The gross profit rate (gross profit divided by net sales) for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 was 67.2%, up 80 basis points from last year’s fourth quarter rate of 66.4%. The increase in gross profit rate can be attributed to both a higher IMU rate and a lower shrink rate compared to the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2006, partially offset by a higher markdown rate.

Stores and Distribution Expense
Stores and distribution expense for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 was $388.4 million compared to $349.8 million for the comparable period in Fiscal 2006. The stores and distribution expense rate (stores and distribution expense divided by net sales) for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 was 31.6%, up 90 basis points from 30.7% in the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2006. The increase in rate is primarily related to the impact of minimum wage and management salary increases and higher store fixed cost rates.
The DC productivity level, measured in units processed per labor hour (“UPH”), was 16.1% higher in the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 versus the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2006, reflecting the realization of increased efficiencies due to the second DC being operational during Fiscal 2007.
Marketing, General and Administrative Expense
Marketing, general and administrative expense during the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 was $103.2 million compared to $101.6 million during the same period in Fiscal 2006. For the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007, the marketing, general and administrative expense rate (marketing, general and administrative expense divided by net sales) was 8.4% compared to 8.9% in the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2006. The decrease in the marketing, general and administrative expense rate was a result of lower travel, samples and outside service expense rates, partially offset by an increase in the home office payroll expense rate.
Other Operating Income, Net
Fourth quarter net other operating income for Fiscal 2007 was $3.0 million compared to $4.6 million for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2006. The decrease was driven primarily by losses on foreign currency transactions in the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 as compared to gains on foreign currency transactions in the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2006.
Operating Income
Operating income during the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 increased to $337.1 million from $308.8 million for the comparable period in Fiscal 2006, an increase of 9.2%. The operating income rate (operating income divided by net sales) for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 was 27.4% compared to 27.1% for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2006.
Interest Income, Net and Income Taxes
Fourth quarter net interest income was $6.4 million in Fiscal 2007 compared to $4.7 million during the comparable period in Fiscal 2006. The increase in net interest income was due to higher interest rates and higher available investment balances during the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 when compared to the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2006.
The effective tax rate for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 was 36.9% as compared to 36.8% for the Fiscal 2006 comparable period.
Net Income and Net Income per Share
Net income for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 was $216.8 million versus $198.2 million for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2006, an increase of 9.4%. Net income per diluted weighted-average share outstanding for the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007 was $2.40, versus $2.14 for the Fiscal 2006 comparable period, an increase of 12.2%.

FISCAL 2007 RESULTS
Net Sales
Net sales for Fiscal 2007 were $3.750 billion, an increase of 13.0% versus Fiscal 2006 net sales of $3.318 billion. The net sales increase was attributed to the combination of the net addition of 91 stores and a 50% increase in direct-to-consumer business (including shipping and handling revenue), partially offset by a 1% comparable store sales decrease and a fifty-three week year in Fiscal 2006 versus a fifty-two week year in Fiscal 2007.
For Fiscal 2007, comparable store sales by brand were as follows: Abercrombie & Fitch and abercrombie comparable sales were flat; Hollister decreased 2%; and RUEHL decreased 9%. In addition, the women’s, girls’ and bettys’ businesses continued to be more significant than the men’s, boys’ and dudes’. During Fiscal 2007, women’s, girls and bettys represented at least 60% of the net sales for each of their corresponding brands.
Direct-to-consumer merchandise net sales in Fiscal 2007 were $258.9 million, an increase of 49% versus Fiscal 2006 net merchandise sales of $174.1 million. Shipping and handling revenue was $39.1 million in Fiscal 2007 and $24.9 million in Fiscal 2006. The direct-to-consumer business, including shipping and handling revenue, accounted for 8.0% of total net sales in Fiscal 2007 compared to 6.0% of total net sales in Fiscal 2006. The increase was driven by store expansion, both domestically and internationally, improved in-stock inventory availability, an improved targeted e-mail marketing strategy and improved website functionality.
Gross Profit
For Fiscal 2007, gross profit increased to $2.511 billion from $2.209 billion in Fiscal 2006. The gross profit rate for Fiscal 2007 was 67.0% versus 66.6% the previous year, an increase of 40 basis points. The increase in the gross profit rate was driven primarily by a higher IMU rate and a lower shrink rate in the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2007, partially offset by a higher markdown rate.
Stores and Distribution Expense
Stores and distribution expense for Fiscal 2007 was $1.387 billion compared to $1.187 billion for Fiscal 2006. For Fiscal 2007, the stores and distribution expense rate was 37.0% compared to 35.8% in the previous year. The increase in rate resulted primarily from store payroll, including minimum wage and store manager salary increases, higher store fixed cost rates and store packaging and supply expenses.
The DCs’ UPH rate for Fiscal 2007 increased 9.1% as compared to Fiscal 2006, reflecting the realization of efficiencies obtained during Fiscal 2007 due to the second DC being operational. The Company expects the overall UPH level to continue to improve during Fiscal 2008, however at a lower rate than Fiscal 2007.
Marketing, General and Administrative Expense
Marketing, general and administrative expense during Fiscal 2007 was $395.8 million compared to $373.8 million in Fiscal 2006. For the current year, the marketing, general and administrative expense rate was 10.6%, a decrease of 70 basis points compared to last year’s rate of 11.3%. The decrease in rate resulted from reductions in travel, samples and outside services expense rates, partially offset by the increase in payroll expense rate.

Other Operating Income, Net
Other operating income for Fiscal 2007 was $11.7 million compared to $10.0 million for Fiscal 2006. The increase was primarily related to gift cards for which the Company has determined the likelihood of redemption to be remote, partially offset by decreases in gains related to foreign currency transactions. The comparable year-to-date period in Fiscal 2006 included other operating income related to insurance reimbursements for a fire-damaged store and a store damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Operating Income
Fiscal 2007 operating income was $740.5 million compared to $658.1 million for Fiscal 2006, an increase of 12.5%. The operating income rate for Fiscal 2007 was 19.7% versus 19.8% in the previous year.
Interest Income, Net and Income Taxes
Net interest income for Fiscal 2007 was $18.8 million compared to $13.9 million for Fiscal 2006. The increase in net interest income was due to higher interest rates and higher available investment balances during Fiscal 2007 compared to Fiscal 2006.
The effective tax rate for Fiscal 2007 was 37.4% compared to 37.2% for Fiscal 2006.
Net Income and Net Income per Share
Net income for Fiscal 2007 was $475.7 million versus $422.2 million in Fiscal 2006, an increase of 12.7%. Net income per diluted weighted-average share was $5.20 in Fiscal 2007 versus $4.59 in Fiscal 2006, an increase of 13.3%.

MANAGEMENT DISCUSSION FOR LATEST QUARTER

FIRST QUARTER RESULTS
Net Sales
Net sales for the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 were $800.2 million, an increase of 8% over net sales of $742.4 million during the first quarter of Fiscal 2007. The net sales increase was attributed to the net addition of 93 stores, and a 44% increase in the direct-to-consumer business, partially offset by a 3% decrease in comparable store sales.
Abercrombie & Fitch comparable store sales increased 3% with women’s comparable store sales decreasing by a low single-digit and men’s comparable store sales increasing by a low double-digit. At abercrombie, comparable store sales decreased 7% with girls posting a low double-digit decrease and boys posting a low single-digit increase. At Hollister, comparable store sales decreased 8% with bettys declining by a low double-digit and dudes posting a low single-digit increase. RUEHL comparable store sales decreased 17% with women’s comparable store sales decreasing by high twenties and men’s comparable store sales decreasing by a low single-digit.
Regionally, comparable store sales were strongest in the international and tourist stores and weakest in the South and Midwest.
From a merchandise classification standpoint across all brands, stronger performing masculine categories included tops, fragrance and fleece, while shorts and active wear posted negative comparable sales. In the feminine businesses, across all brands, stronger performing categories included jeans, fleece and shorts, while knit tops, skirts and pants posted negative comparable sales.
Direct-to-consumer net merchandise sales, which are sold through the Company’s websites for the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 were $62.5 million, an increase of 44% over Fiscal 2007 first quarter net merchandise sales of $43.5 million. Shipping and handling revenue for the corresponding periods was $10.5 million in Fiscal 2008 and $6.6 million in Fiscal 2007. The direct-to-consumer business, including shipping and handling revenue, accounted for 9.1% of total net sales in the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 compared to 6.7% in the first quarter of Fiscal 2007. The increase was driven by store expansion, global brand recognition and continued improvement in targeted e-mail marketing and website functionality.
Gross Profit
Gross profit for the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 was $534.2 million compared to $487.3 million for the comparable period in Fiscal 2007. The gross profit rate (gross profit divided by net sales) for the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 was 66.8%, up 120 basis points from the first quarter of Fiscal 2007 rate of 65.6%. The increase in the gross profit rate reflects an improved initial markup rate, driven by London premium pricing, sourcing and logistics benefits and select pricing increases, and a lower shrink rate, partially offset by a slightly higher markdown rate.

Stores and Distribution Expense
Stores and distribution expense for the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 was $341.8 million compared to $308.2 million for the comparable period in Fiscal 2007. The stores and distribution expense rate (stores and distribution expense divided by net sales) for the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 was 42.7%, up 120 basis points from 41.5% in the first quarter of Fiscal 2007. The increase in the rate resulted primarily from the Company’s negative 3% comparable store sales and the impact of higher minimum wage rates and higher direct expense rates, including pre-opening expenses associated with the Abercrombie & Fitch Tokyo flagship lease. Partially offsetting the increases was a reduction in variable expenses, particularly payroll hours, which were reduced on a per store basis in response to the sales trends during the quarter.
Distribution center productivity, as measured in units processed per labor hour (“UPH”), increased 12.1% during the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 as compared to the first quarter of Fiscal 2007.
Marketing, General and Administrative Expense
Marketing, general and administrative expense during the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 was $104.7 million compared to $90.2 million during the same period in Fiscal 2007. For the first quarter of Fiscal 2008, the marketing, general and administrative expense rate (marketing, general and administrative expense divided by net sales) was 13.1% compared to 12.1% for the first quarter of Fiscal 2007. The increase in rate was driven by increases in home office payroll and outside service expense rates as the Company continues to invest in home office infrastructure to support its growth initiatives, partially offset by decreases in the travel expense rate.
Other Operating Income, Net
First quarter other operating income for Fiscal 2008 was $2.9 million compared to $3.9 million for the first quarter of Fiscal 2007. The decrease was driven primarily by losses on foreign currency transactions in the first quarter of Fiscal 2008, compared to gains on foreign currency transactions in the first quarter of Fiscal 2007.
Operating Income
Operating income for the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 decreased to $90.6 million from $92.7 million in the comparable period of Fiscal 2007. The operating income rate (operating income divided by net sales) was 11.3% for the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 compared to 12.5% for the first quarter of Fiscal 2007.
Interest Income, Net and Income Tax Expense
First quarter net interest income was $7.6 million in Fiscal 2008 compared to $3.7 million in the first quarter of Fiscal 2007. The increase in net interest income was due to higher investment balances and higher average interest rates during the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 when compared to the first quarter of Fiscal 2007.
The effective tax rate for the thirteen weeks ended May 3, 2008 was 36.8%, compared to 37.7% for the Fiscal 2007 comparable period. The effective tax rate in the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 reflected the favorable impact of higher tax-exempt interest income.

Net Income and Net Income per Share
Net income for the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 was $62.1 million versus $60.1 million for the first quarter of Fiscal 2007. Net income per diluted weighted-average share outstanding for the first quarter of Fiscal 2008 was $0.69 versus $0.65 for the same period of Fiscal 2007, an increase of 6.2%.
FINANCIAL CONDITION
Liquidity and Capital Resources
The Company expects that substantially all future operations, including projected growth, seasonal requirements and capital expenditures will be funded with cash from operations. In addition, as of May 3, 2008, the Company had $450 million available, less outstanding letters of credit, under its unsecured credit agreement to support operations. Furthermore, the Company expects that cash from operating activities will fund dividends currently being paid at a rate of $0.175 per share per quarter. The Board of Directors will review the Company’s cash position and results of operations and address the appropriateness of future dividend amounts.

As of May 3, 2008, the decrease in working capital was primarily driven by the reclassification of $318.1 million in investments in federally insured student loan backed securities and insured municipal authority bonds auction rate securities (“ARS”) from current assets to non-current assets.
The ARS have maturities ranging from eight to 34 years. Despite the underlying long-term maturity of ARS, such securities have been historically priced and subsequently traded as short-term investments because of an interest-rate reset feature, which reset through a Dutch auction process at predetermined periods ranging from seven to 35 days. Due to the frequent nature of the reset feature, ARS were classified as current assets and reported at par, which approximated fair value, as of February 2, 2008.
On February 13, 2008, the Company began to experience “failed” auctions. Due to the lack of liquidity in the current market, as of May 3, 2008, all ARS were classified as non-current assets and the Company determined that par value of the ARS no longer approximates fair value.
The Company does not believe that failures in the ARS market will have a material impact on the Company’s liquidity. The Company expects that substantially all future operations, including projected growth, seasonal requirements and capital expenditures will be funded with cash from operations. Additionally, as of May 3, 2008, the Company had $450 million available, less outstanding letters of credit, under its unsecured credit agreement to support operations.
Subsequent to May 3, 2008, the Company borrowed $100.0 million under its unsecured credit agreement in order to increase its cash position and enhance financial flexibility.

Operating Activities
Net cash used by operating activities, the Company’s primary source of liquidity, totaled $17.2 million for the thirteen weeks ended May 3, 2008 versus net cash provided by operating activities of $2.2 million for the comparable period in Fiscal 2007. Cash was used primarily to fund accounts payable, accrued expenses, and income taxes payable and an increase in inventory. Cash was provided by net income adjusted for non-cash items including depreciation and amortization, amortization of deferred lease credits and share-based compensation and collection of lessor construction allowances.
Investing Activities
Cash inflows from investing activities were generated by sales of marketable securities. Cash outflows for investing activities were for purchases of marketable securities and for capital expenditures primarily related to new store construction and other construction in progress (see the discussion in “Capital Expenditures and Lessor Construction Allowances”). As of May 3, 2008, the Company held $318.1 million of marketable securities classified as long-term.
Financing Activities
Financing activities for the thirteen-week period ended May 3, 2008 consisted primarily of $50.0 million for the repurchase of treasury stock, $14.8 million for the payment of the $0.175 per share quarterly dividend on March 18, 2008 and $32.7 million received in connection with stock option exercises.
A&F repurchased approximately 0.7 million shares of A&F’s Common Stock for the thirteen weeks ended May 3, 2008. As of May 3, 2008, approximately 11.3 million shares were available for repurchase as part of the August 15, 2005 and November 20, 2007 A&F Board of Directors’ authorizations to repurchase 6.0 million shares and 10.0 million shares, respectively, of A&F’s Common Stock.
The Company has $450 million available (less outstanding letters of credit and borrowings) under its Credit Agreement, as described in Note 10, “ Long-Term Debt ” of the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements. Trade letters of credit totaling approximately $75.4 million and $61.6 million were outstanding on May 3, 2008 and February 2, 2008, respectively. Standby letters of credit totaling approximately $14.9 million and $14.5 million were outstanding on May 3, 2008 and February 2, 2008. The standby letters of credit are set to expire primarily during the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2008 and 2010. To date, no beneficiary has drawn upon the standby letters of credit.
No borrowings were outstanding under the New Credit Agreement on May 3, 2008 or under the Original Credit Agreement on February 2, 2008, respectively.

CONF CALL

Brian Logan

This is Brian Logan, Vice President of Investor Relations and Controller of Abercrombie & Fitch. The following is a summary of our sales results for fiscal month ended July 5, 2008. Before I begin, I remind you that any forward-looking statements I may make are subject to the Safe Harbor statement found in our SEC filing.

Net sales for the 5-week period ended July 5, 2008, were $309.7 million, compared to $293.2 million for the 5-week period ended July 7, 2007. Total company direct to consumer net sales increased to $20.3 million for the 5-week period ended July 5, 2008, a 21% increase of our sales for the 5-week period ended July 7, 2007. June comparable store sales decreased 3%.

By brand, Abercrombie & Fitch comparable store sales increased 3%. Men’s comp increased by a low-teen. Women’s comp decreased by a mid single digit. Transactions per store per week decreased 6% to last year. Average transaction value increased 11%. In the kids business of Abercrombie, comparable store sales decreased 8%. Boys’ comps were up by a low single digit. Girls’ comps were down by a low double digit. Transactions per store decreased 15%. Average transaction value increased 8%.

Hollister comparable store sales decreased 8%. Dude’s comps increased by a mid-single digit. Betty’s comps decreased by a low-teen. Transactions per store decreased 13%. Average transaction value increased 4%.

Ruehl comparable store sales decreased 18%. Men’s comps were down a single digit. Women’s comps were down by low 30s. Transactions per store decreased 32%. Average transaction value increased 5%.

From a merchandize classifications standpoint across all brands, strongest performing masculine categories included knits, fragrance, shorts, and jeans while graphic tees and swim were weaker. In the feminine businesses, jeans and swimwear were strongest while graphic tees and knit tops were weaker. Comps continue to be strongest in US-based tourist stores and international stores, while mall-based comps were strongest in the Southwest and weakest in West and Midwest.

We will announce July sales on Thursday, August 7, 2008.

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