December 6, 2013, 2:24 PM

Q3 web sales remain flat at Aeropostale

Year-to-date e-commerce sales increase 10%.

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E-commerce held its own in the third quarter for Aeropostale Inc., no mean feat in a period when the specialty apparel chain retailer’s total sales fell 15%.

For the quarter ended Nov. 2, Aeropostale, No. 111 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500, Aeropostale reported:

  • Flat e-commerce sales of $51.5 million.
  • Total sales decreased 15.1% to $514.6 million from $605.9 million in the third quarter of 2012.
  • Comparable-store sales declined 15%.
  • Net loss was $25.6 million compared with net income of $25 million in the third quarter of 2012.
  • The web accounted for 10.0% of total sales compared to 8.5% in the prior year.

For the first nine months:

  • E-commerce sales increased 9.8% to $132.4 million from $120.6 million.
  • Total sales decreased 10.7% to $1.42 billion from $1.59 million in the first three quarters of 2012.
  • Net loss was $71.5 million compared with net income of $35.6 million in the third quarter of 2012.
  • The web accounted for 9.3% of total sales compared to 7.6% in the prior year.

Aeropostale blames the drop in sales and net loss on a shift in the apparel buying trends of younger shoppers as the company looks to reposition its brand with more relevant merchandise and new ways for teenagers and young people to shop.

“The structural changes that have been happening within the world of teen retail have profoundly influenced how we think and the way we approach our customer,” CEO Thomas Johnson told Wall Street analysts on the company’s third quarter earnings call. “Today's teen wants more options, more personal interaction with brands and more flexibility in how they access these brands. We understand the shifts that have taken place, and we continue to aggressively respond to these changes.”

In 2014, Aeropostale expects to close between 40 and 50 under-performing Aeropostale stores, open 11 new stores and continue to invest in e-commerce. “We plan to continue to grow e-commerce,” Johnson told analysts. “We will continue to invest in social media, connect with our consumers through crowd-sourcing and new engagement techniques, and leverage our industry-leading number of fans and followers on social media channels.”

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