Abercrombie & Fitch said this week that it would close 60 more U.S. stores this fiscal year as it searches for ways to increase productivity amid ongoing sales declines, including in the holiday quarter. The closures follow the shuttering of 53 U.S. shops last year. In addition, half of the company's 700-plus U.S. leases are up for renewal by the end of fiscal 2018, giving the company flexibility to exit more locations without incurring hefty charges.
Total Retail's Take: Abercrombie & Fitch has closed hundreds of stores over the past five years as it tries to turn around its business. Those closures haven't translated into an improvement in sales at surviving locations, however. Abercrombie's same-store sales fell 5 percent in the fiscal fourth quarter, for example, even though a company's sales should improve when it weans weaker locations from its store footprint. In addition, management has said that Abercrombie hasn't recaptured sales it gave up when shuttering locations. One bright spot: online sales. One-third of Abercrombie’s sales are generated online, up from 28 percent last year.