NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. rose Wednesday on optimism about its international expansion plans and focus on boosting profitability.

THE SPARK: The teen clothing retailer said in its annual report filed late Tuesday that it plans to open Abercrombie & Fitch flagship locations in Seoul and Shanghai and about 20 international Hollister stores.

The company also said that it continues to focus on simplifying processes, eliminating less-profitable parts of its business, boosting efficiency and lowering expenses.

THE BIG PICTURE: The Hollister openings will include the company's first stores in Australia, its first store in the Middle East in Dubai through a joint venture, while also marking the brand's entry into the Japanese market. The company said it's also considering opening international mall-based Abercrombie & Fitch stores within the next 12 months.

The company added that it continues to target annual earnings-per-share growth of 15 percent.

THE SHARES: Up $1.72, or 4 percent, to $47.18 in afternoon trading, after peaking at $47.66 earlier in the day. Over the past 52 weeks, the company's shares have traded between $28.64 and $54.05.


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