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Abercrombie & Fitch said it would close 40 to 50 stores in the US this year as the youth fashion retailer’s shares tumbled following weak sales in the crucial Christmas quarter.

Like-for-like sales fell 1 per cent at Abercrombie & Fitch’s US stores in the three months to February 2, extending previous declines in an intensely competitive sector where its rivals include American Eagle, Aéropostale and Forever 21.

The Ohio-based retailer, known for its thumping in-store music and scantily clad male door staff, said direct sales to US consumers, which include its ecommerce unit, rose 5 per cent, although they remain a small part of its business.

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