Abercrombie & Fitch is closing a bunch of stores this year, proving the ’90s are officially over
If you grew up in the ’90s, you likely have some sort of relationship with Abercrombie & Fitch. Maybe you were OBSESSED. Maybe you were more of a Delia’s chick. Maybe you thumbed through the quarterly and wished your babysitting “salary” could get you a preppy navy blue pea coat. Either way, you can start saying goodbye to whatever Abercrombie ghosts still haunt you (it’s definitely the cologne), because it likely won’t be around for all that much longer.
This year, Abercrombie & Fitch is closing 60 stores overall since their sales keep dropping. Last year, they closed 53 stores.
The brand itself isn’t really going to disappear that quickly, though, since they do a large part of their sales online, like most other brands. That side of the business is booming — their internet sales are up 38 percent from last year. The company said it plans on keeping an eye on that to determine how many more stores they’ll close in the long run. There will always be teenagers and European tourists to buy up Abercrombie clothes, but the stores were pretty iconic. If you’re not sad about the looks, it is sad to actual Abercrombie stores go. The overpowering smell of cologne, the wood paneling, the mood lights. Oh, and the shirtless Abercrombie models peering down at you from posters in the dressing room.
CEO Fran Horowitz isn’t about to let Abercrombie just yet. She said in the earnings call that Hollister (Abercrombie’s tween cousin) was actually doing really well.
"Hollister, our largest brand, achieved positive comp sales and the Abercrombie brand renewal continues, although it is a work in progress," she said.
The CEO added, “While overall results did not meet expectations, 2016 was a year of significant progress on each of our strategic priorities.” Basically, they have to up their digital game, much like every other brand that once depended on brick-and-mortar profits. The brand has been repositioning itself for a while. It claims its days of hiring “only skinny” salespeople and reputation of allegedly only hiring white models are ancient (or early aughts) history.
At a time when the fashion industry as a whole is trying to be more body positive and inclusive, if it wants to keep some of their flagship stores and online sales up, it’s going to have to keep evolving.