Abercrombie & Fitch Begs the Fat Kids for Another Chance

How will we tell the cool kids from the uncool kids now?

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Reuters

With its stock price and in-store sales in free fall, a humbled Abercrombie & Fitch has decided to relent on its controversial stand against carrying plus-size clothes. Starting next spring, it would “expand sizes, colors and fits,” Reuters reports. The brand will also be adding more accessories and shoe lines in an effort to bring more shoppers into the store.

In 2006, CEO Mike Jeffries justified the no-plus-size clothes policy in an interview with Salon, saying “In every school there are the cool kids and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids…Candidly, we go after the cool kids.” The viral #FitchtheHomeless campaign earlier this year, in which people bought thrift store Abercrombie & Fitch and gave it to the homeless to protest Jeffries’ comments,  brought further public relations heat down on the retailer.

A&F reported its seventh straight quarterly drop in same-store sales Wednesday, and its stock price fell 10.4 percent to $34.35, Reuters reports.

[Reuters]

32 comments
whistlerbc94
whistlerbc94

as someone who works at an Abercrombie and Fitch i can tell you that it has nothing to do 

with small sizes and risky campaigns and way more to do with them being completely out of touch

with current styles and trends. No one my age wears Abercrombie and Fitch, its tacky and doesnt have any of the quality it once had. It also has nothing to do with the price. People my age spend twice as much at other stores because they like the clothes and are willing to pay more. Abercrombie and Fitch hasnt been cool in years it just so happens people found out about this interview from 2007 recently and decided that it must be the reason that sales are down.

SurpriseComment
SurpriseComment

If it's true that the marketing strategy was to attract only the beautiful people, you'd think they would have gotten rid of that CEO by now.  Seriously, what did that guy do to his face?  Wow.  Why bother hiring attractive people for the store when Mike Jeffries' face is all over the Internet.  I can't imagine a quicker way to kill a brand for beauty than attaching his face to the brand.


The board should have either changed strategies from the beginning or fired him for a better looking CEO.  Actually, I think the shareholders have a good lawsuit on their hands for mismanaging the company.  His face has clearly been altered which means he could have helped looking like a nightmare.  Negligence.



namol.bu
namol.bu

You have to wonder about a company whose marketing shows off as little of their product as possible.  When you eliminate large swaths of the market by not making a product they can use, and the "cool kids" are tired of your stuff, then you start the decline.  Good riddance, your smelly, dark, and noisy stores can go away.

Prisoner_223
Prisoner_223

ahahah fat kids cant wear A&F? Wheres the revolt over the fact that poor people can't either?

AimeT.Elle
AimeT.Elle

I hope they go bankrupt. They are the prime example of a company that has no social responsibility and disgusting moral values. I now look at people wearing their brand differently. If they are wearing their sh*tty clothes, to me it means they agree with the companie's values and philosophy. Karma's a beach huh

PatrickO'Brien
PatrickO'Brien

Who even cares about this store anymore? I think its sad they act high and mighty for YEARS and now that they are going slowly out of business, they are trying to be all nice. I dont think so. Besides, no one with any style or over age 17 even cares to wear Abercrombie these days. 

PrincessMom
PrincessMom

@#$% 'em and their overpriced, low to average quality clothes!!!

MaryJohanna6
MaryJohanna6

Glad that my son still finds Lewis Jeans at Target cool enough for him.

Melloniche
Melloniche

Why don't they just stop pouring man perfume everywhere? It gives costumers headaches and it doesn't even smell good. You can't see the clothes cause it's so dark in the store, so you only THINK you're buying something cute. And you don't need to make your clothes bigger. Fat people always buy clothes that are too small cause it makes them feel better.

CST79
CST79

This news is actually disappointing to me.  I love the A&F brand and everything it stands for.  My question is: To all of the A&F haters out there...why do you care so much to change the A&F brand and rebel against them?  If you do not like A&F (for any reason) or cannot fit into their clothes then simply do not shop at A&F.  But why spend so much time and effort hating them for being exclusionary?  Simply move on.  Should Ivy League schools let anybody who applies through their doors just because the applicants reeeeeeeeally want to attend?  No.  Should the Mercedes brand lower their prices so lower income individuals may own a Mercedes, too?  No.  Many facets of life are exclusionary.  It's exciting, it's interesting and it's fun.  It is a status symbol.  Their is nothing wrong with anything that I have just mentioned.  Many of you think the A&F brand may be "evil" (so to speak).  I disagree.  I simply feel (this is just my own speculation) that A&F wants to cater to their target audience.  I don't believe they "hate fat people"...or anyone else who doesn't fit their target audience.  They are not out to bully you or degrade you.  After all, they are out to sell clothes.  I believe they simply are targeting the young, all-American male/female, laid back, athletic, non-synical college student.  The brand exudes a sexy, confident attitude represented by their marketing campaigns.  I love the "muscle fit" clothing!  They have recently been more "fashion forward" in my opinion, but let's keep in mind A&F will always have a "classic" feel and image.  If someone thinks A&F is not "stylish", they may not understand Abercrombie.  It seems to me that Mike Jeffries now feels that some of his comments about the brands non-target audience in the past may have been harsh, and has apologized.  That should be enough.  I certainly wasn't offended by his comments and feel that he spoke up, and spoke well.  However, it's best to keep peace with all men if possible.  Change is unavoidable, "you change either to stay ahead or to catch up".  I hope A&F stays true to their roots along with any changes they face.  Good luck to Abercrombie on all of their future endeavors.

meboge0
meboge0

When a company bases their so much of their corporate image on being elitist jerks, it's hard to feel sorry for their downfall. It seems pretty obvious that they wouldn't have changed anything if their bottom line wasn't suffering.

RunningWriting
RunningWriting

I've never bought any of their clothing (for me or for anyone else) and probably never will, for many reasons. ["Cool kids" comment, the racist Chinese laundry shirts from a decade ago, the pseudo-pornographic bags and displays in their stores.] But I'm wondering whether their decline is directly related to the "cool kids" comment. That comment was made in 2006 but the same-store sales figures didn't start their steady decline until 2011. I don't see a connection.

I'm not complaining about the company's decline. Nor am I defending the company or its CEO, whom I've always found to be bizarre. (Look up his bio. It's not because he's gay. The male model plane attendant thing is creepy.) I'm just not seeing this as connected to the "cool kids" statement.

IsabelleMarcil
IsabelleMarcil

Seriously, what truly "cool" person wears A&F nowadays???

MaryellenReash
MaryellenReash

I was a cheerleader and (I think) fairly "popular" in high school. I have never been a plus size, but I was extremely offended by A&F's misguided branding attempt. I am THRILLED to see A&F stock fall. Jeffries needs to return to high school for a basic refresher course in Marketing. When he goes, I hope he gets stuffed in a locker.

troyg318
troyg318

THE FALL of the mighty and haughty has begun.

therealdude
therealdude

Seriously?!? They wait this long to do an about face on this? If the board had 5 brain cells among them, they would have fired Jeffries right after he said that. This whole thing just makes their company look so stupid--why on earth would you turn away and insult potential customers when there are only a zillion other stores that have clothing that look just like theirs (but without the corporate attitude), plus the internet. Their company deserves bankruptcy...or to be taken over by American Eagle, Express, etc.

LollieDotCom
LollieDotCom

I'm not going to be happy with A & F till Mike Jeffries is homeless. 

ucheharpers
ucheharpers

this is the beginning  of their demise...they won't see my dime.

JohnFerguson
JohnFerguson

They can add all the sizes. It won't change a thing. It's NOT COOL to marginalize anyone so it's NOT COOL to wear Abercrombie. Teenagers have figured out that excluding people because of their race, ethnicity, or BODY SHAPE causes great misery and can lead to bullying and ultimately suicide.

DavidConroy
DavidConroy

A&F pinned their colours to the mast of the boom times in many countries, adorning the offspring of the more affluent, and charging what they wanted without having to give much in return. Back then, riding a wave of easy money and expensive advertising, they could exclude whomever they chose with apparent impunity. I'm not one for parables in general, but they've had their seven years of plenty.

Marisacree
Marisacree

Had one item from them and would not shame the homeless by wearing it. Threw it out. I won't even walk by their stores. They can kiss butt all they want, it's over for them. Hope they go bankrupt soon.

IrvinKelly
IrvinKelly

This company can kiss my ass right in the crack.

Hotpuppy
Hotpuppy

You couldn't give me their clothes.  I still own a few shirts from them, and used to really like their stuff.  There are many other options out there..

nlpnt
nlpnt

@PatrickO'Brien I haven't seen many teens wearing A&F lately. Mostly empty-nesters whose kids were teens in the early/mid '00s when Abercrombie was at the height of its' trendiness. They wear their kids' old clothes to walk the dog.

biggiediddy
biggiediddy

@Mellonicheyup, you're most assuredly a big hoe the got the train in hs! 8======D~~~~ :)  BAHAHA HOe

AimeT.Elle
AimeT.Elle

@Melloniche Wow... Yeah you're the reason I don't supoport Abercrombie and Fitch. Dumbass comment, dumbass way of thinking.

HeatherRenae
HeatherRenae

I can't take anyone seriously who still doesn't know the correct way to use "they're", "there", and "their".

DianeBelmont
DianeBelmont

@CST79 *there *cynical 

Also, one has to work extremely hard to go to an Ivy or be able to afford to buy their own Mercedes. Weight is a biological thing. To discriminate against someone for something they often can't control is just rude and makes them feel like not even the real world past high school accepts them. I used to buy clothes from A&F, Aeropostale, Hollister, etc. but stopped because I was always an XL (and a tight one at that) in their clothes. I'm a medium or large in all other juniors clothes and that makes me feel better than trying to fit into a "status symbol". Sorry I'm too fat (135 lbs.) to have status.
And if that's what the All-American girl/boy acts like, then I will just keep my wound up, lazy cynical self and buy buy my clothes from a company that caters to ALL young adults.

postingonline42
postingonline42

@MaryellenReash never thought I'd like anything a popular cheerleader said (i was an abused nerd) but you're awesome. I'm sure if we were in high school you'd probably be one of the good ones, the ones that never look at me but you'd never do anything mean to me either.


I shop in thrift stores and never cared about brands before in my life, but at 30 years old I now started looking at brands in thrift stores -- just in case i bought AF clothing by accident. I didn't want to accidentally wear that and have someone think i was one of "those" people. Thanks AF, you made me care about brands instead of style and substance!!! 

I now laugh to think that by not buying any AF, it might have gone to help the homeless! Awesome!

DianeBelmont
DianeBelmont

@CST79 Oops, and forgot this quote, “We hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don't market to anyone other than that."