American Apparel
American Apparel ()

American Apparel’s reported its sales at stores open at least a year fell 6 percent in December, and the clothing store chain’s stock fell sharply lower Thursday.

This metric is a considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health. It excludes the potentially distorting results from stores recently opened or closed over the past year.

Total sales were $60.5 million, down 6 percent from a year earlier. For the full year, total sales rose 3 percent to $633.9 million.

CEO Dov Charney blamed tough comparisons as last December saw a 15 percent increase in sales at stores open at least a year. In addition, a late Thanksgiving led to a compressed holiday shopping season. Charney also said that the company’s management team was “intensely distracted” while it implemented a new distribution center — which is now completed.

“Although December was disappointing, and we could face a challenging environment for the remainder of the winter, our management team is energized and we are excited about our prospects for spring and summer 2014 as well as for the calendar year as a whole,” he said in a statement.