Abercrombie takes itself off the block and shares plunge

NEW YORK (AP) — Abercrombie & Fitch is no longer up for sale, and that isn’t sitting well with investors who were looking for a white knight to rescue the struggling teen retailer.

Shares tumbled 12 percent before the opening bell Monday on the announcement.

Abercrombie said in May that it was it in talks with several parties about a potential deal, but now says that it has ended all such negotiations.

More people are shopping at lower-cost, fast-fashion stores like H&M and Forever 21, and that has wreaked havoc on one-time mall mainstays like Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Aeropostale Inc., Wet Seal and others have already sought bankruptcy protection.

The New Albany, Ohio, company said that sales remain strong at its surf-inspired Hollister brand and is continuing to work on improving the performance at Abercrombie. In the first quarter, the company said that sales at established Hollister stores rose 3 percent, but slumped 10 percent at Abercrombie.

The chain has tried to tweak its brand by dumping suggestive ads and updating its look. It’s also closed some stores. That has yet to turn it fortunes around, however.

First-quarter losses were wider and revenue slid.

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