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Teens' and Parents' Spending Increases Year-Over-Year; Abercrombie & Fitch Rated Teens' Favorite Brand

MINNEAPOLIS, April 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Piper Jaffray & Co. Senior Retail Analyst Jeff Klinefelter today released the results of his seventh bi-annual proprietary research survey on teen spending habits and retail brand perception, titled "Taking Stock With Teens." Klinefelter conducted mall research field trips with more than 700 teens from 15 high schools in 12 states across the country and one province of Canada. Overall, the survey shows that year-over-year spending increased on fashion products, particularly apparel and accessories.

"We believe that the apparel recovery continues to gain momentum due to the increase in spending year-over-year as well as the growing diversity of brand preferences," said Klinefelter. "We are also very encouraged by the increase in spending by the young men in our survey as sales of young men's product have been a challenge for many retailers during the past two years."

Brand Preferences Survey Results:

Klinefelter surveyed teens on their favorite places to shop as well as their spending habits. Based on their responses, Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF, Outperform, $36.10, #) remains the most frequent overall destination for the sixth survey in a row, grabbing 13 percent of the total votes, which is an increase from 12 percent in the fall 2003 survey. In second place is American Eagle Outfitters (AEOS, Outperform, $27.99, #) and in third is Pacific Sunwear of California (PSUN, Outperform, $23.93, #).

In addition, Limited's Express unit (LTD, Market Perform, $21.02, #) ranked fourth this spring and Abercrombie's Hollister concept was fifth. These two brands ranked similarly in the fall 2003 survey.

"Overall we believe the tide is turning in a long-standing decline in young men's business with Abercrombie as a clear beneficiary," said Klinefelter. "We believe this changing tide will help to boost Abercrombie's sales and earnings, beyond consensus expectations."

Gen Y - Teen and Parent Spending Increases

Total spending on fashion products (apparel, shoes and accessories) increased by 3.4 percent to $1,447 per student annually on a year-over-year basis, as compared to spring 2003. In addition, spending on fashion products by male students increased 11.6 percent as compared to the spring 2003 survey and increased by an even stronger 24 percent as compared to the fall 2003 season. The female students increased spending nine percent year-over-year on fashion products.

"We believe this recovery in young men's spending will continue to drive comparable stores sales gains and margin recovery for several dual-gender retailers during the next several quarters," said Klinefelter.

In addition to surveying students on their spending, Klinefelter also polled their parents. Parents have increased the amount of money that they spend on apparel for their teens by 59 percent as compared to spring 2003 and by 11 percent as compared to fall 2003. They have also increased the dollars they spend on apparel for themselves by 88 percent, versus spring 2003 and by 19 percent, versus fall 2003.

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Piper Jaffray & Co., a subsidiary of Piper Jaffray Companies, is a focused securities firm dedicated to delivering superior financial advice, investment products and transaction execution within selected sectors of the financial services marketplace. The company operates through two primary revenue-generating segments -- Capital Markets and Private Client Services. Investment Research, an independent group reporting to the CEO, supports clients of both segments. The firm serves corporations, government and non-profit entities, and institutional investors on a national basis and serves the financial advisory needs of private individuals predominantly across the western half of the United States. The firm has over 2900 employees in 111 offices in 23 states across the country and in London, England. For more information about Piper Jaffray, visit us online at www.piperjaffray.com .

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