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Abercrombie & Fitch downgraded on concerns over operating profit pressure, shares sink

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. ANF, -1.54% shares sank 6.2% in Wednesday premarket trading after the apparel and accessories retailer was downgraded to underweight from neutral at J.P. Morgan, which met with company executives. Its price target was cut to $10 from $12. Analysts led by Matthew Boss cite operating profit pressures as the company continues its efforts to rebrand away from its sexy reputation. Analysts say there are "no silver bullets to sustainable operating profit expansion" with revenue growth as the primary factor going forward. Analysts think that stabilization across the retail industry is a prerequisite for reversing gross margin headwinds in recent years. And the early reaction to the company's new "This is the Time" marketing campaign has been "mixed." Abercrombie & Fitch shares are up 12% for the year so far, but down 7.3% for the past year. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF XRT, +0.03% is down 10.4% for the year so far, and the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.09% is up 15% for the period.


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