Abercrombie & Fitch, everyone’s favorite ” I hate them” store has decided to close down more than 150 stores across the country! Surprised? You probably shouldn’t be if you ever kept tabs on what the company was upto. A&F has been around for a hundred years now, and what started as an establishment that used to hawk hunting and camping equipment successfully repositioned itself to be one of the most recognized brands in the world under its CEO Michael Jeffries! So why does a brand that has visibility, brand equity and a fan base(The first time I saw those long lines, my jaw dropped a mile!) have to close down stores? Here are my thoughts,
– A&F is one of the few brands who did not care to drop brands during the unsteady economy since they thought customers would continue flocking to their stores simply because of who they were – While I appreciate their integrity and confidence, I’d say this decision killed them especially in stores located at malls.
– They dont care two hoots about normal people and time and again have gotten into controversies about their obsession with buff bodies and pretty faces! Agreed they have fantastic product but they almost expect the customer to like what they offer rather than tailor make for their needs!
– Gimmicks can only last that long – The americans may be tired of the semi naked photoshoots and the dark – loud- sickly musk perfumed stores. And the company is eyeing fresh kill (Europe and Asia) where “american prep” has a big market and expect to repeat their success overseas. Closing down these stores might help them pump revenue into their new venture and contribute to higher profits in the long run.
All said and done, the views expressed here are based on what I think and I know for a fact plenty of people are A&F fans, but as someone who is studying marketing as a major, I believe it is mandatory for a brand to stay relevant and evolve to suit its audience and continuously try and appeal to the customer. In ANF’s case it sometimes acts like a snobbish teenager who thinks he/she is above everyone else!