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Abercrombie & Fitch is an American causal wear company aimed at 18 to 22 year olds. A&F has over 300 locations in the United States, and is expanding internationally including an Irish store in College Green, Dublin.
The retailer has declined in popularity in recent years possibly due to high prices, competition and an exclusive and exclusionary mind set from the company.
Abercrombie held an air of exclusivity when the clothes could only be sourced from the United States. The clothes were of normal prices relative to its casual nature. In 2007, the first store outside of America opened in Saville Row in London. When the company began its global expansion prices began to rise and as the availability was simpler the popularity declined.
Sister company Hollister has provided the most significant competition to Abercrombie. Hollister is a cheaper, cooler and trendier alternative that has become a major trend over the past five years. Their most obvious and widespread styles are the women’s coloured “yoga pants” and hoodies, these generic trends can be seen every day.
The declining popularity and increased competition is coupled with Abercrombie’s negative press. Recently, Abercrombie & Fitch has made headlines because of their discriminatory stance due to their target market.
The company refuses to stock XL or XXL sizes because they want a particular “popular” market wearing their brand. CEO Mike Jeffries has caused controversy because of the brands decision not to sell any size larger than size 10 because he does not want his clothes to be sold to “unattractive women”.
However, it is normal for a brand to have a target market. Abercrombie should not have to expand their market and sizes in order to be inclusive of everybody. Every brand produces their clothing and creates a specific style in order to attract and suit a certain market.
With declining popularity is Abercrombie & Fitch finished? Their other sister company Ruehl already closed in 2010 after making substantial losses. Perhaps a change in strategy and marketing is needed to keep the casual brand alive.