Back in 2013, Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries infamously went viral for not wanting “larger people” in his stores. Robin Lewis, author of The New Rules of Retail, told Business Insider that he only wants “thin” “cool kids.” Here’s the damning quote:
“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis said. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.’”
The only reason Abercrombie offers XL and XXL men’s sizes is probably to appeal to beefy football players and wrestlers, Lewis said.
We asked the company why it doesn’t offer larger sizes for women. A spokeswoman told us that Abercrombie wasn’t available to provide a comment.
That superficial attitude about body image sounds like something Regina George in Mean Girls would say about her high school clique (or one of a despicable sorority girl). It’s hard to believe that a CEO would say something like that, but he did.
Jeffries was fired from Abercrombie and Fitch in 2014, but all that lingering douchiness is coming back to bite the company in the ass.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Abercrombie & Fitch scored the lowest of any retailer in the country. That means that customers think the shopping experience there is worse than Wal-Mart and every other major retailer. That’s pretty laughable and says a lot about what people think about Abercrombie as a brand given it’s comparable size in the consumer marketplace. Via CNN Money:
“Normally when we see that kind of a gap, it’s a company so large it has monopoly power like,Walmart or McDonalds” said Forrest Morgeson, ACSI’s director of research. “Abercrombie and Fitch is not that, they aren’t that large … this can spell serious trouble for the company.”
The retailer said it’s been working to focus on the customer in the last year.
“The data we have from our consumers tells us they are positive on our brands, on our new offerings, and on the work we have done to improve the shopping experience,” said Fran Horowitz, president and chief merchandising officer in a statement. “We are confident that we will continue to improve the customer experience over the coming year.”
But hey! They finally got rid of the shirtless dudes outside the stores! That’s a step in the right direction, right?