While Abercrombie & Fitch clearly believes international expansion is a key growth opportunity for its business going forward, the teen clothing retailer also says it intends to tread carefully as it steps into new locations.

"We are working very hard to increase the pace of international expansion," CEO Mike Jeffries told analysts on a conference call yesterday (18 May).

But he cautioned: "We are balancing this accelerated pace with ensuring we do not over-store particular regions or sacrifice quality and end up in locations where we don't belong.

"We want to ensure the locations we choose make sense from a brand perspective, a location perspective and of course a financial perspective."

International growth has been one of the bright spots for the company, which has only recently started to add lower-priced items to offset criticism about the high price of its merchandise.

Indeed, international sales more than doubled in the first quarter to $119.0m - outstripping a 5% rise in domestic revenues and helping lift total company sales by 14% to $687.8m.

Announcing its quarterly figures, the New Albany, Ohio based retailer said it is gearing up to open Abercrombie & Fitch flagship stores in Copenhagen, Denmark and Fukuoka, Japan this year, followed by Madrid, Spain in fiscal 2011.

And it will open its first international Gilly Hicks lingerie store in the UK in the fourth quarter.

Beyond this it is also eyeing around 15 additional flagship opportunities in Europe and Asia through 2012.

But the company also revealed it plans to open just 25 Hollister stores this year, down from an earlier target of 30 stores for the surf-inspired chain.

Jeffries said the retailer will only open new stores where it is seeing its best growth.

"We can't get greedy," he told analysts, adding: "We will not sacrifice quality for a short-term sales opportunity if it doesn't make sense for us in the long run."

The retailer currently operates 341 Abercrombie & Fitch stores, 205 Abercrombie kids stores, 507 Hollister Co stores and 16 Gilly Hicks stores in the US.

Internationally, it also has six Abercrombie & Fitch stores, four Abercrombie kids stores and 21 Hollister Co stores.