Abercrombie & Fitch Adds Plus-Sizes In a Too-Late Move Towards Size Acceptance
I'll bet Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries is wishing he could take back what he said earlier this year about only wanting thin, "cool" and attractive kids to wear Abercrombie clothes. It seems his never-grew-out-of-high-school mentality may be affecting the brand's bottom line. The company has historically stayed away from carrying larger sizes, refusing to carry XL women's clothes or jeans above a size 10. But according to Reuters, Abercrombie will begin carrying plus-size clothing (and selling shoes) in an attempt to boost flagging sales.
Abercrombie hasn't been doing that hot for a while now. Same-store sales have been down for seven quarters in a row. On Wednesday, Abercrombie & Fitch shares closed down 14 percent from the previous quarter. Overall, shares in Abercrombie stock have fallen 30 percent in 2013.
It would be nice to think that these falling numbers could be attributed to shoppers boycotting the store because of its harmful messages about plus-size acceptance. As demand grows for more representative mannequins, models and sizes, Abercrombie's previous only-thin-and-pretty-should-apply messaging certainly goes against the idea that fashion should be for everyone.
Whatever the reason for these numbers, can we all smile and say schadenfreude? It is some pretty great karmic justice that the very "cool kids" Jeffries panders to have been turning to trendier and less teen-centric labels, such as Forever 21 and H&M. So now Abercrombie thinks ... what? That plus-size teens will be so grateful to finally be included that they'll start flocking to the store? To use a phrase from the last time Abercrombie had any cultural cache: As if!