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NEW ALBANY, OH-Abercrombie & Fitch will introduce a fifth concept in January 2008, and will accelerate international expansion next year, as well, executives said at its fourth-quarter conference call.

The company will launch the new format, now still called “concept five,” with three units in January, growing to seven stores by March 2008, even as it continues to grow its existing chains. The plans include six new Abercrombie & Fitch stores, 67 new Hollister Co. stores, 27 new abercrombie stores, and 10 new Ruehl stores in 2007. The children-oriented abercrombie stores will see a particularly strong growth spurt, including a possible expansion into Canada.

“We had not aggressively been expanding [the] kids [stores],” said Michael S. Jeffries, CEO and chairman of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. “But with their success, it clearly has opened up more store locations. We can take that brand to about 250 locations.”

International expansion also is a major part of the plan. Abercrombie & Fitch’s first European store will open in London on March 22nd, and the firm is exploring Tokyo and other “key European markets” to grow both Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister in 2008.

“We’re very excited about the Hollister expansion overseas,” said Michael W. Kramer, SVP and CFO. “As we are looking for properties for A&F, we’re starting to see great properties for Hollister, as well.”

At year-end, the company operated 357 Abercrombie & Fitch stores, 177 abercrombie stores, 390 Hollister Co. stores, and 14 RUEHL stores in the United States at the end of Fiscal 2006. The company also operated three Abercrombie & Fitch stores and three Hollister Co. stores in Canada.

For the fourth quarter, net sales increased 18% from the previous year to $1.139 billion. Net income was $198.2 million, up 20% over the fourth quarter of the previous year. Comp-store sales declined 3% for the quarter.

For the year, the company reported a net sales increase of 19% to $3.318 billion. Comp-store sales rose 2%. Net income was $422.2 million, up 26% from the previous year. The most recent fiscal year had 53 weeks, compared with the 52-week year that ended in January 2006.

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