March 19, 2014, 12:57 PM

Aéropostale’s 2013 web sales are flat

Fourth quarter e-commerce sales and total 2013 sales each declined by about 12%.

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Teen fashion retailer Aéropostale Inc. had a down sales year in 2013, with flat e-commerce revenue a relative highlight. The company reported fourth quarter declines for e-commerce and total sales.

Aéropostale is scrutinizing all aspects of its business as it seeks to reverse dismal fourth quarter results, CEO Tom Johnson told analysts on the company’s year-end earnings call last week, according to a transcript of the call from Seeking Alpha.

“While our largest opportunity continues to be improving our core Aéropostale business, we are also looking diligently to support our future growth drivers, e-commerce, P.S. and international,” Johnson told analysts. The P.S. brand offers clothing for girls and boys age 4 to 12 on its e-commerce site, PS4U.com and in 97 stores in 22 states.

“Against the backdrop of a challenging retail environment and declining mall traffic, we must capitalize on every sales channel available to us. Last year, although our e-commerce business was not immune to the overall promotional environment, conversions were higher,” he said.

In 2014, Aéropostale is “refining our merchandising strategy for our online business to match the steps that we have taken in our brick-and-mortar stores,” Johnson said. “We are investing in product extensions, expanding online exclusives, including third-party product and increasing our buys in extended sizes.”

Online exclusives include such promotions as web-only products from Bethany Mota, the YouTube shopping princess whose apparel line was developed by Aéropostale. “Our focus online will continue to bring exclusivity and we think that’s the opportunity for us to differentiate our business online versus brick-and-mortar,” Johnson said.

Aéropostale also plans “to grow our exclusive SKUs online significantly and we will continue to test extended categories online,” executive vice president Emilia Fabricant told analysts.

For the fiscal year ended Feb. 1, Aéropostale, No. 111 in the Internet Retailer 2013 Top 500 Guide, reported:

  • Online sales of $217.6 million, flat compared with prior year web sales of $217.0 million.
  • Total sales of $2.10 billion, a 12.1% decrease from $2.39 billion in fiscal 2012.
  • Comparable-store sales, including e-commerce, fell by 15%.
  • Net loss of $141.8 million compared with net income of $34.9 million in the prior year period.

The web accounted for 10.4% of total sales in 2013, compared with 9.1% in 2012.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, Aéropostale reported:

  • Web sales of $85.6 million, an 11.6% decline from $96.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.
  • Total sales of $670.0 million, down by 16.0% from $797.7 million.
  • Comparable-sales, including the e-commerce, decreased by 15%.
  • Net loss of $70.3 million compared with a net loss of $700,000 in the prior year quarter.

The web accounted for 12.8% of total sales in 2013, compared with 12.1% in 2012.

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