Abercrombie plans big buyback, cut in Europe

Abercrombie & Fitch Co plans a big share buyback to appease investors and is also likely to cut back on its European expansion plans, the New York Post reported.

The exact size of the repurchase program could not immediately be determined, but a source told the paper it would be a “material increase” over the board’s current authorization to buy back 12.9 million shares, or about 15 percent of the teen apparel retailer’s float.

The New York Post also quoted unnamed “insiders” as saying that Chief Executive Mike Jeffries is considering curtailing the company’s European expansion and that Abercrombie is expected to announce its plans on or before its next quarterly earnings report in mid-August.

Expansion in Europe has cost Abercrombie in the recent past as sales trends in the region weighed on overall performance.

Top executives at Abercrombie “got an earful after that last earnings report,” an insider briefed on the situation told the Post, referring to angry phone calls from investors who were surprised by Europe’s damage to quarterly results.

Abercrombie did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Shares of the company were up 5 percent at $34.29 in premarket trading Wednesday. They closed at $32.77 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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