Fashion Business Update - Abercrombie and Fitch Plans to Close as Many as 40 Stores
By: J. Nemr
I am 101% certain that we can or could relate to that exciting trip to Abercrombie and Fitch. The pungent smell of cologne, the music so loud it was hard to hear yourself think, the good-looking staff and the struggle to find something which wasn't labelled XS. All of this built up to that other whole new world which we dragged our parents into just to find that super trendy pair of jeans.
Despite all of that, Abercrombie has received so much backlash in the past regarding sizing and the image they attempt to put out for young girls and boys all around the world. The brand has been accused of idealising skinny women and muscular abs in order to skyrocket sales especially to future generations where younger people rely more and more on their appearance to feel validated.
In the fashion world, either companies choose to adapt, or they are simply out of the game. Brands innovate every day in order to appeal to their target market, new trends, what is in and what is out and it is challenging for companies and brands to constantly be on top of their game since our world, revolves around change and innovation.
Apparently, critics have hit Abercrombie and Fitch harder than any one of us could ever imagine. Their former, racy personality has been overshadowed by the current idea of accepting future generations the way they are and fighting this idealised vision of what perfect should look like which was strongly supported by A&F. In stores, lighting was strategically positioned to show slim mannequins promoting what women's bodies should look like, dark blinds and the famous cologne was known for setting the store's mood. Sales plummeted and the brand's reputation was destroyed.
A praised comeback – Abercrombie and Fitch announced the closing of as many as 40 stores in 2019, most of them being in the US. Giving this small scandal a bit of thought, CEO Fran Horowitz claims that they are now "Not the Abercrombie and Fitch you once knew". The brand is now being praised as stores close, are replenished and reopen as a new, toned-down version of their former personality. There has been a significant investment in product assortment, sizing, the stores' lighting and a new face for the brand. Stores also are being reduced in size and offer a more open, light and welcoming experience for customers. With this new marketing,
Horowitz's goal is to change the perception of A&F.
The company's new look has also benefitted its shares as they increased more than 30% this year only.
Recent statistics put together by market-research firm YouGov shows that US adults over 18 have a much better impression of the store than they did back in 2016, and believe it is now a better influence for America's younger generations. In other words, as much as we will miss the loud music and the nostalgic A&F scent, ditching these has done the company some good.
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