Abercrombie and Fitch has been under fire for their stance on not carrying women’s clothing over a size 10 because they think anyone who requires a larger size isn’t “cool” enough to shop in their store.
You heard right. The giant clothing retailer, which has a large following of young people, apparently doesn’t like fat women. Point blank. And now, they’re paying for their isolation of anyone who wears an XL or XXL size. Picking only skinny customers isn’t the best business plan, Abercrombie & Fitch ever had.
The retailer said that sales are down 10% this quarter and that’s mainly because their prices are too high and they don’t cater to everyone. They’re marketing plan was to isolate people who they didn’t think were cool, so those people went to spend their money elsewhere.
Part of the problem, no doubt, stems from CEO Michael Jefferies, who spoke in May about the company’s stance on bringing in larger sizes for women like H&M and other popular stores.
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”
Wait, what company is in trouble now? Oh, right. That’d be Abercrombie. Go figure.
Seriously, that kind of mindset might have worked years ago, but in this day and age everyone wants to be treated equal. When they walk into a store, they don’t want to feel like they’re being discriminated against because of their size or who they are.
“In 1999, we all wanted to fit in, but in 2013 it’s about showing your identity by wearing unique accessories or clothes no one else has,” Brian Sozzi, chief equities strategist at Belus Capital, said.
So when Abercrombie sees that their shares are down and business is slow, they really have no one to blame but themselves. No one wants to be a part of an exclusive club of thin people, because that’s just not cool.
Though LFO’s hit song “Summer Girls” said “You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch,” not every girl wants to be seen that way. Most want to be seen for who they really are and not smushed into a mold they don’t fit. When it comes down to it, most girls just want to be accepted and Abercrombie, led by CEO Michael Jefferies, have done a very good job of saying they don’t accept people for who they are.
Your loss, Abercrombie. At the end of the day people will continue spending their money elsewhere.