Abercrombie & Fitch 4Q net income rises

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch said Friday that its net income rose in the fourth quarter as the company opened new stores abroad, but a key revenue metric declined during the all-important holiday quarter.

Its shares sagged almost 2 percent in premarket trading.

As growth has slowed in the U.S., Abercrombie & Fitch, which operates namesake stores as well as surf-themed Hollister and Abercrombie kids aimed at younger children, has accelerated growth overseas and online. The company says it plans to close 40 to 50 stores in the U.S. during 2013, mainly through lease expirations.

"Despite a challenging U.S. retail environment over the holiday period, our core U.S. chain plus direct-to-consumer (revenue in stores open at least one year) remained positive and we saw continued sequential improvement in our international business," said CEO Mike Jeffries.

Under a new accounting method, the company earned $157.2 million, or $1.95 per share, during the three months ended Feb. 2. That compares with $45.8 million, or 52 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 11 percent to $1.47 billion from $1.33 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $1.48 billion.

U.S. revenue rose 1 percent to $976.4 million while international revenue rose 34 percent to $492.2 million

Direct to consumer sales, including website and catalog, rose 26 percent to $266.4 million.

Revenue in stores open at least one year fell 4 percent. The measure fell 1 percent including online and catalog sales. The metric is considered an important gauge of a retailer's health, because it excludes stores that open and close during the year.

For the year under its new accounting method, net income rose 9.2 percent to $237 million, or $2.85 per share, from $143.9 million, or $1.61 cents per share. Revenue rose 8 percent to $4.51 billion from $4.16 billion.

Abercrombie expects earnings of $3.35 to $3.45 per share for the year under its new accounting method. Analysts expect $3.67 per share.

Shares fell 84 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $48.21 in premarket trading. That's still near the high end of their 52-week range of $28.64 to $54.10.