Fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co has reported a 33 per cent surge in first-quarter sales after making merchandising and store improvements.

Total first-quarter net sales were $546.8 million compared to $411.9m for the first quarter of 2004. Same-store sales rose 19 per cent year-on-year in the quarter.

Sales within the Abercrombie & Fitch division increased 16 per cent to $302.1m, while same-store sales increased 16 per cent.

Abercrombie sales increased 36 per cent to $63.0m, with a same-store sales increase of 32 per cent.
Hollister sales increased 71 per cent to $179.2m, while same-store sales increased 21 per cent.

First-quarter net income for the quarter increased 38 per cent to $40.4m from $29.3m for the first quarter of fiscal 2004.

Mike Jeffries, chief executive officer and chairman, said "I am very pleased with the improvement we have made in our organization both in merchandising where we have focused on building great strength in each category across our brands, as well as in the stores where our investment in additional staff and management hours as well as training have contributed to substantial improvements in store productivity."

Abercrombie signed leases for six Canadian locations during the quarter, including three Abercrombie & Fitch and three Hollister stores expected to open in late 2005 or early 2006.

The company operated 351 Abercrombie & Fitch stores, 167 abercrombie stores, 260 Hollister stores and 5 Ruehl stores as of 30 April 2005.