Thanks to a number of timely measures taken, the Abercrombie & Fitch brand has again become popular with millennials and representatives of generation Z.
In 2006, then-CEO Mike Jeffries Abercrombie & Fitch stated that the company he manages is fundamentally not going to produce clothes in large sizes, because he creates things only for "cool guys" and does not want his clothes to be worn by "full or unattractive" people. It is not surprising that such a defiant statement led to a negative reaction from consumers, even those who fell into the category covered by the brand.
It got to the point that Abercrombie & Fitch got the dubious rating of "most hated retailer" in the US in 2016. The brand and the exclusive lifestyle it offered began to be perceived only as pretentious. The company's shares began to fall rapidly in price, dropping below $10 - the lowest level since May 2000. Jeffreys' far-fetched beauty standard clearly did not resonate with consumers, however, like himself.
All this led to the fact that Mike Jeffries left the position of CEO, and Fran Horowitz, who previously successfully managed the brand owned by the company, took his place. Hollister. And she managed to do what already seemed unlikely - the Abercrombie & Fitch brand again became "cool" in the eyes of teenagers, and the stock price went up, and even at a record pace (only in the last year it increased immediately by 266%).
Today, Abercrombie & Fitch is perceived as a fashion brand aimed at those who are entering adulthood. The brand's items are readily purchased by millennials and generation Z. Often they can be found in the wardrobe of older generations.
First of all, it was stated that Jeffries' controversial statement "was made more than 15 years ago and does not reflect the brand's current values." Horowitz paid a lot of attention to the range of things on offer, even the Abercrombie website has changed, becoming lighter and more modern. The brand's stores have also become more attractive, their walls are no longer decorated with high-contrast black-and-white photos of kissing couples. Now the photographs are in color, showing people smiling, relaxing and cycling along the beach - that is, much closer to the average buyer. It was also decided to abandon things with a huge inscription "Abercrombie" across the chest - representatives of the younger generation no longer want to feel like just a "walking advertising banner."
Abercrombie's new look appealed to Gen Z consumers and millennials, who are less attracted to logos and more to brand values. Thus, modern manufacturers are required to pay much more attention to environmental issues than to the constant updating of the wardrobe.
The company also says it has redoubled its focus on social media and influencer marketing. The Instagram brand profile already has 5 million followers and the number continues to grow rapidly. Much attention is paid to participation in various social issues, such as racial justice. As noted by the publishing house Business Insider, such steps were very positively received by a wide variety of analysts and marketers.
However, it should be noted that despite the rapid revival, the Abercrombie & Fitch brand has become unprofitable over the past 12 months, with its revenue falling by 14%. The main reason for this is the coronavirus pandemic, due to which retail sales around the world have plummeted. But representatives of the brand are optimistic, confident that they have made a long-term investment in the development of the brand. Echoed by analyst firms like Simply Wall St., who say A&F Co. in the next 2-3 years will increase in price by another 62.7%. Representatives of JP Morgan also expect an increase in revenue growth.
The latest history of Abercrombie & Fitch is an example of how timely steps taken can not only save a seemingly dying company, but literally transform it, making it “cool” and attractive in the eyes of customers again. Even as demanding as the representatives of the youth.