It’s earnings time again for Abercrombie and Fitch. This report, however, is the teen retailer’s first since former CEO Mike Jeffries stepped down amid concerns the company’s sometimes controversial cool factor wasn’t resonating with today’s consumers.
So, has the change in leadership and a more humble brand attitude made an impact? Not yet. For the critical fourth quarter holiday period, the company reported sales were down 14 percent. Upon that news, stock prices have hit a new 13-year low.
With the financials came more promises from the company’s new president, Christos Angelides: More upbeat and “friendly” lighting and a departure from the current loud dance music vibe could be on the way by the back-to-school time frame. Also, for the first time ever, the brand is putting zippers on its jeans.
I’ll repeat what I’ve been saying for the past 18 months as I’ve followed this story: Mean is out. While some people see Internet trolls everywhere, I instead see a group of kids who can’t figure out why a Cheerios commercial featuring a racially-mixed couple is controversial.
It may take some time for Abercrombie and Fitch to rebrand themselves, but at least they’re heading in the right direction. Will consumers buy it?
Let me know what you think. And also, let me know if you can explain the no zipper thing.