The US Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an informal, non-public inquiry into the trading in shares of Abercrombie & Fitch Co's Class A Common Stock.

In a statement on the New York Stock Exchange website, the company said that it was cooperating fully with the SEC and that the SEC had informed the company the inquiry should not be construed as an indication that any violations of law had occurred.

The statement added that on September 2, 2005, a purported class action was filed against A&F. In September and October of 2005, five other purported class actions were subsequently filed against the company. All six cases seek to allege claims under the federal securities laws as a result of a decline in the price of A&F's Class A Common Stock in the summer of 2005.

"A&F believes the cases have no merit and intends to vigorously defend itself in court," the statement said.

Meanwhile the company also reported that its net sales for the third quarter of the 2005 fiscal year were US$704.9m, a 35% increase over last fiscal year's third quarter net sales of US$520.7m. The sales increase was attributable primarily to a 25% comparable store sales increase and to the net addition of 56 stores.

Gross profit for the third quarter of the 2005 fiscal year was US$465.1m compared to US$336.6m in the same period last year.

The company said the increase in gross profit was driven by higher initial markup ("IMU") and a lower markdown rate

Operating income for the third quarter of the 2005 fiscal year increased to US$115.9m from US$62.0m in the third quarter of the 2004 fiscal year.