Teen apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters says its fourth quarter earnings are likely to come in at the low end of forecasts after sales fell over the Christmas period.

The company said total net revenue for the nine weeks to 4 January fell 2% to $882m, with comparable sales tumbling 7%.

It now expects earnings of $0.26 per share, on the bottom end of previous guidance of $0.26 to $0.30 per share.

"Following a solid Thanksgiving weekend, traffic and sales through Christmas week were on the low end of our expectations and the retail environment was highly promotional, pressuring margins and EPS," commented CEO Robert Hanson.

"Our post-Christmas clearance event is meeting our expectations and we expect to end the year with inventories on plan."

The company, which sells the American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie brands and operates more than 1,000 stores, will release its fourth quarter and annual results on 11 March.