Understanding Current Teen Trends, Courtesy of the Earnings Calls

Includes: AEO, ANF, FL, GME
by: William Trent, CFA

With back-to-school season upon us but little time to shop, we stock market nerds can get a heads-up on the latest fashions and trends simply by reviewing a few choice conference calls.

Consider, for example, American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO).

During the second quarter, our men’s business was strong, delivering a high single digit comp increase. Strength was broad-based across most major categories, including men’s shorts, knit-tops, and woven shirts. Our overall women’s comp declined slightly with strength in aerie, bare knit-tops, shorts, and dresses offset by declines in graphic tees and polos, skirts, and accessories....

We are now in the midst of the back-to-school season and are pleased with the customer response to our collection. Our new line of women’s knit tanks and tees is a major step forward from spring and summer and a better reflection of what on trend means for our customer.

We are also seeing ongoing momentum in denim. Building on our strong jeans business, this season we took our offering to a new level with a significant amount of fashion newness in our blue issue collection and within our fit systems. Both guys and girls are embracing new fits and responding positively to fashion elements.

(Excerpt from full AEOS conference call transcript)

Abercrombie and Fitch (NYSE:ANF) saw some of the same trends.

the shorts business was very strong for the quarter, and I can also tell you that the trend in denim improved over the course of the quarter.

Now, what that means go forward, we really can’t comment on and again, overlaying that, our tops business has continued to be very strong across all categories -- fashion knits, fleece, just continued to be very strong but I don’t want to get into commenting about the back half of the business.

(Excerpt from full ANF conference call transcript)

Footlocker (NYSE:FL) comments on the shoe business.

There were also a number of external factors that contributed to our disappointing second quarter results, including the summer fashion trend of sandals, slides and flip flops, a continuing fashion shift to brown shoes, lack of newness in the athletic category, the back to school shift from July to August in certain important states like Florida and Texas. And while steps that we took in June and July adversely impacted our profits for the second quarter, our cash flow was strong, and I believe positions our business better for the back half of this year.

From a merchandising standpoint, the story for the quarter was mostly about clearance. With that said, the marquee category led by brand Jordan, Shox Running, some Nike Max Air products, Adidas Bounce, New Balance Zip and the high-end of ASICS continues to be a very important part of our business.

(Excerpt from full FL conference call transcript)

Finally, you've got to have some fun during back to school season. According to GameStop (NYSE:GME):

The incredible acceptance of the Wii and DS Lite platforms, coupled with the emergence of what could almost be considered a new category – non-game games such as Guitar Hero, SingStar, Boogie, et cetera -- has not only attracted more customers, but we are seeing an increasing number of young girls and women in our demographic as well.

(Excerpt from full GME conference call transcript)

So there you have it. The two-minute update on the latest fashions, courtesy of SEC Fair Disclosure regulations.