Abercrombie & Fitch Plan Turnaround
American apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has announced a number of significant changes to its infamous retail strategy and signature store concept of dark lighting, loud music, and beautiful staff. The brand hopes the overhaul will boost sales (2013 figures showed a drop of 8.7%) by re-engaging its millennial market.
The brand has frequently come under fire for its openly elitist attitude, targeting young, slim, athletic shoppers and seemingly hiring staff largely based on their model-esque looks. With the drop in sales indicating a sense of disillusionment among its core market, the brand is opting for a more subtle experience in a bid to remain relevant to today’s teens.
In 240 US stores, the heavy window shutters have already been removed – freeing up space for window displays – with quieter music and brighter lighting also toning down the anti-inclusive, nightclub feel of the spaces.
The brand is also at pains to suggest it will be less intimidating in its approach to body image as well. Sales assistants will be more covered up, stores will stock larger sizes, and the brand is also exploring new size-flattering cuts. The retailer is also listening to consumer demand and will roll out items in the colour black (which was previously banned for being too formal).
The retailer has also recognised the power of social media to connect with the youth market, and has stated that it will be working with bloggers and teens (names yet to be announced) on a campaign for photo-sharing site, Instagram. The company is also pushing campaigns through Facebook and Twitter – posting more than 300 times a week to its social media accounts. The result has been a four-fold increase in customer engagement through ‘likes’ and comments since January 2014.