Abercrombie & Fitch: Wikis


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Abercrombie & Fitch Co. brand
Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch logo.svg
Type Public (NYSEANF)
Establishment 4 June 1892, Manhattan
Headquarters 6301 Fitch Path
New Albany, Ohio 43054 United States
Key people David T. Abercrombie, Founder
Ezra Fitch, Co-Founder
Michael S. Jeffries, Chairman & CEO
Bruce Weber, photographer
John Urbano, marketing film director
Industry Fashion retail[1]
Theme Casual luxury
Color scheme Grayscale
Target consumer age 18 through 22[2]
Apparel style Casual wear / Sportswear
Abbrev. A&F / ANF / AF
Logo Moose
Store locations Entire Company: 1081[3]
A&F alone: 357[3]
 United States
 United Kingdom
Revenue Entire Company:
US$3.54 Billion (FY 2009)[4]
A&F alone:
$1.6 billion (FY 2007)[5][6]
Net income US$272 Million (FY 2009)[4]
Number of employees Entire Company: 10,000 (2008)
Website www.abercrombie.com

Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) (NYSEANF) is an upscale American fashion retailer, headed by chairman and CEO Michael S. Jeffries. The A&F brand itself focuses on casualwear and accessories for a target consumer ages of 18 through 22.[2] With over 300 locations in the United States, the brand has embarked on international expansion throughout various world markets.[7] The company also operates three off-shoot brands: abercrombie, Hollister Co., and Gilly Hicks (targeting consumers ranging between the ages of 7 and 22).[2]

Founded in 1892 in Manhattan by David T. Abercrombie, A&F had been an elite outfitter of sporting and excursion goods. It struggled financially from the late 1960s until it was purchased by The Limited in 1988 and repositioned, under the management of Mike Jeffries, as the aspirational "Casual Luxury" lifestyle brand in present form.[8]

Prominent figures who patronized the company in its excursion goods days include Teddy Roosevelt,[9] Amelia Earhart,[9][10] Greta Garbo,[9] Katharine Hepburn,[9] Clark Gable,[9] John Steinbeck,[11][12] John F. Kennedy,[12] Ernest Shackleton,[13] Dwight Eisenhower,[12] and Ernest Hemingway.[14].



History of Abercrombie & Fitch Co.
Abercrombie & Fitch logo.svg
1892 David Abercrombie establishes the company as Abercrombie Co. in New York City.
1900 Ezra Fitch joins as partner/co-founder.
1904 Re-christened as Abercrombie & Fitch Co..
1907 Abercrombie leaves. Fitch comes sole owner: The Fitch Years begin.
1909 The revolutionary A&F catalogue is released.
1910 A&F becomes first store to outfit both men and women in New York City.
1917 Moves into its historical Madison Avenue store.
Early 1920s A&F introduces Majong to the United States which gains high popularity. The company has accumulated an elite following.
1927 Charles Lindberg is outfitted by A&F for his historic flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
1929 Ezra Fitch retires, and the company comes under succeeding leaders.
1939 Adopts the slogan The Greatest Sporting Goods Store in the World.
1950s Launches store openings nationwide. A&F president Guernsey remarks, "The Abercrombie & Fitch type does not care about the cost; he wants the finest quality," this becomes A&F's modern philosophy.
1976-78 After a financial decline, declares bankruptcy and closes doors. Oshman acquires the company, and fails to produce an uplifting image.
1988-1992 Limited Brands purchases A&F, and Mike Jeffries becomes president. Abercrombie & Fitch is re-established as a youthful upscale fashion retailer.
1996 Abercrombie & Fitch enters the NYSE and becomes an independent company.
1997 The A&F Quarterly publication is launched.
1998 The abercrombie brand is launched.
2000 The Hollister Co. brand is launched.
2001 Company operations move to Home Office in New Albany, Ohio.
2004 The RUEHL No.925 brand is launched.
2005-07 First flagship store opens in New York City. Second and third flagships open in Los Angeles and London (international expansion begins).
2008-09 The Gilly Hicks brand is launched. Milan and Tokyo flagships open.
2010 The RUEHL No.925 brand is closed.

Management and marketing

Home Office & Corporate officials

The Abercrombie & Fitch company headquarters is appropriately called "Home Office" located in New Albany, Ohio.[15] Home Office is designed as an A&F Campus of sorts, and is referred to as "the Campus." It is a secluded, sprawling multi-million dollar complex surrounded by woods. Nevertheless, it is "centralized in order for all of [A&F] associates to be able to work together quickly and efficiently in support of A&F brands."[15] The buildings are a modern design of metal and concrete. A&F prides itself in its working environment providing state-of-the-art resources for its employees to maintain the A&F brand power: "[It is] a retail playground for the most talented in the industry to grow their careers."[15] The multi-million Innovation & Design Center (IDC), called "one-of-a-kind" in the retail industry, has been recently revamped as so to provide newer resources. The company merchandise Distribution Centers (1,000,000sq.ft) are located exclusively on Campus to ensure brand protection.[15] Also on Campus are the mock-up stores, one for each A&F brand, where it is determined the layout from merchandise to the atmosphere.[15] A cutting-edge, equipped gymnasium and chef-staffed cafeteria is also available on "campus". An anonymous employee called Home Office "a retail industry workers dream." A vibrant promotional video displays life on Campus on A&F Careers website.

A&F also has a European branch in Milan, Italy.[16][17]

The following are the top corporate officials of Abercrombie & Fitch Co.[18]

  • Michael S. Jeffries - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jefferies has held this position since the 1990s. He has renovated the brand and oversees all aspects of the company.
  • Diane Chang - Executive Vice President of Sourcing
  • Leslee K. Herro - Executive Vice President of Planning and Allocation
  • David S. Cupps - Senior Vice President, Sec. and General Counsel
  • Jonathan Ramsden - Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Amy Zehrer - Senior Vice President of Stores


The company uses brand representatives, and now called "models," for customer service within the stores. The representatives have been required to buy and wear Abercrombie & Fitch apparel but now they can wear any no logo clothing as long as it is within certain color schemes corresponding with the changing seasons.[19] The "Impact Team" was created in 2004 to control merchandise within each store and maintain company standards. "Visual managers" are responsible for standardizing the store visually. Forms, lighting, photo marketing, fragrance presentations and brand representatives complying with the "look policy" are key aspects of the position.[20] Lawsuits have been placed against the company in the past years due to discriminatory employment practices. In 2004, the company was involved in a lawsuit, Gonzalez vs. Abercrombie & Fitch (see Legal issues & Controversy and Criticism below), for giving desirable positions to white applicants, to the exclusion of minorities. After settling out of court, the company established a branch to seek minority employees.[21][22]

Image: marketing and advertising

The official logo of Abercrombie & Fitch is the moose.

A&F is notoriously known for its racy marketing photography shot by Bruce Weber (renown for his sexual photography for Calvin Klein and Polo Ralph Lauren, and work for Vogue).[23] Rendered to grayscale, the photographs feature mainly outdoors, beach, or mountainous backdrops. Traditional A&F photography feature a dark gray background (used for more "classic" oriented shots, and profile photos). Common aspects are the semi-nude males and scantly-clad women. The photography has such an appeal that Abercrombie & Fitch shopping bags have become collectables-of-sorts, and its image synonymous with "all-American perfect models."[24] A&F has also advertised on highway billboards.[25]

Today, A&F only casts its store employees for marketing campaigns. Casting directors from Home Office travel to key A&F regional locations in United States and to London to hold "casting calls" for the employees in the respective regions aspiring to become the next "A&F New Face".[26] In an A&F video promoting a photo shoot, a model described his experience "like a movie star" being provided a personal make-up artists, numerous clothing selections, and catered food. A female model remarked meeting "cute guys" and having fun.

The brand promotes its casting sessions, models, and photo shoots in its "A&F Casting" feature online abercrombie.com. The website also provides a gallery of the current photography, and instores the framed pictures also carry the name/store of the appearing model(s). "A&F Casting" superseded the original "A&F New Faces" feature introduced in the early 2000s.

The trademark slogan, Casual Luxury.

Distinct from the 1990s, today's Abercrombie & Fitch brand image is heavily promoted as a international near-luxury lifestyle concept.[27] The company began cultivating an upscale image after the opening of its Fifth Avenue flagship store in 2005.[28] Being alongside Prada and other upscale retailers, the Abercrombie & Fitch image needed to be elivated on par. Having already, for years, incorporated high-grade materials into the construction of its merchandise and pricing them at "near-luxury" levels, the trademark Casual Luxury was thus fittingly introduced.[28] It was marketed as a fictional dictionary term with multiple definitions such as "[using] the finest cashmere, pima cottons, and highest quality leather to create the ultimate in casual, body conscious clothing,"[29] and "implementing and/or incorporating time honored machinery ...to produce the most exclusive denim..."[29] This upscale image has allowed A&F to open stores in international locations concentrating on high-end retailing. To that effect, price points in international A&F stores are notoriously almost double the American pricing to promote an international upscale image. While the Casual Luxury "image" is continued, the trademark itself is not as widely used as before.

Overall, Mike Jeffries calls the A&F image a "movie" because of the "fantasy", he explains, plays out instore.[30] Even some of the clothing is given "story": "You buy into the emotional experience of a movie," Jeffries explains,"And that's what we're creating. Here I am walking into a movie, and I say, 'What's going to be [at] the box office today?'"[30]

Goods and credit card

High-end "Ezra Fitch" clothing marker.

Abercrombie & Fitch fashions are casual, and are supposedly designed for the college-aged lifestyle. The clothing offerings are available in a variety of colors (black excluded). There is a heavy promotion of "Premium Jeans". Occasionally, there are northeastern college influenced looks, but the majority of the designs are trend driven. Women's Wear Daily calls the clothing classically "neo-preppy".[24] A&F also carried the now defunct upscale "Ezra Fitch" clothing line, made of high-grade materials, until diminishing sales pulled it from shelves.

The merchandise price points are recognized as the highest in the youth-clothing industry.[31] Internationally, they are almost double the price in American stores. Retail analyst Chris Boring warns that Abercrombie & Fitch's brands are a "little more susceptible" should recession hit, because their specialties are premium-priced goods rather than necessities.[32] Indeed, as the Late-2000s recession continues, A&F has noticeably suffered financially for its refusal to lower price points or offer discounts. A&F argues that doing so would "cheapen" its near-luxury image, while analysts predict that this attitude will bring a major financial fall in the near future for the company.[31]

Abercrombie & Fitch carries men's fragrances Fierce, Cologne 41, and Colden. Women's fragrances include 8, Perfume 41, Wakely, and Classic. Released at the same time, Fierce/8 and Cologne 41/Perfume 41 and Colden/Wakely are marketed to compliment one another. High-end fragrances Ezra Fitch (cologne) and Ezra parfum were described as the embodiment of "the Abercrombie & Fitch heritage," until they were discontinued. Cologne Proof was released in Christmas 2006, which has been discontinued and currently at a clearance price of $9.90 in stores that still have it. Cologne Woods and perfume Ready are also amoung the retired fragrances. Fierce and 8 are the most heavily marketed fragrances as they are the signature scents of the brand overall.[33]

The company also offers the Abercrombie & Fitch Credit Card issued by the World Financial Network National Bank.[34] Carriers can use the card instore and online for all A&F brands.

Brand protection

As the popularity of Abercrombie & Fitch goods increased, so did the counterfeiting of them. In 2006, the company launched the Abercrombie & Fitch Brand Protection Program to combat the issue worldwide (focusing more in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea) by working with legal forces globally.[35] Shane Berry, who joined the company in November 2005, was placed in charge of the program.[35] Berry is a former Supervisory Special Agent from the FBI, and was a part of its Intellectual Property Rights Program. The news release from A&F announcing its initiative stated that the "program will improve current practices and strategies by focusing on eliminating the supply of illicit Abercrombie & Fitch products."[35]

The Brand Protection program covers all A&F brands; mainly A&F, Hollister and RUEHL (shuttered by end of January 2010).[35][36] Assuring that its consumers are aware of the issue, the Abercrombie & Fitch Brand Protection and abercrombie brand protection features suggest customers to purchase from authentic stores and to report suspected A&F counterfeiting.

The company's Abercrombie & Fitch brand gift cards have been recognized by Consumer Affairs as a "top pick" for not having deceptive features such as expiration dates, dormancy fees, and post-purchase fees.[37]


The Modern Canoe with wooden louvers (featuring the Spring Break 2007 marketing campaign picture).

The modern Canoe store design features white molding and black louvers on the exterior.[38] The main marketing image lies against the front wall facing the entrance.The interiors are highlighted with dim ceiling-lights and spot lighting. One iconic aspect is the lingering scent of Fierce, an A&F fragrance, which is automatically spritzed from black boxes containing the concentrated fragrance in the lighting tracks and manually spritzed every day by employees. The distinguishing blasting electronic dance music is meant to create an exclusively fun, upbeat atmosphere particularly for the young. An undercover inspection which measured the noise levels in teen stores in a randomly selected mall, revealed that the noise level in Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Abercrombie kids stores was as loud as 90 decibels, comparable to heavy construction machinery noise and harmful to the ears. However, 80 decibels is the corporate store policy sound level.[39]

There is one remaining chain store with a design which features plaid carpeting and preppy wallpaper. The company operates 1,128 stores across all five brands. The A&F brand holds over 353[40] locations nationwide the United States, three in Canada (Toronto and Edmonton), one in London, one in Milan, and one in Tokyo.


Five flagship stores are currently in operation.

  • New York City / Fifth Avenue: Located on the prime[28] real estate of 720 Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower and adjacent to Prada, this "shopping marvel"[28] is the American East Coast flagship store of Abercrombie & Fitch. It became the first flagship store for the A&F brand when it opened doors on 10 November 2005, introducing A&F’s "Casual Luxury" image to the world.[28][41] The interior, designed by Selldorf Architects, reminisces to the original roots of Abercrombie & Fitch as an excursion goods retailer and is the set interior design model for all other flagships.[41] Dark rustic[28] wood-paneled walls, rifles and merchandise (stacked in "a mouth-watering array of colors") [28] in glass cases, spotted foliage, leather couches, rugs, and notorious[28] dim spot-lighting make as the décor throughout four floors, together about 35,000 sqft of retail space.[41] A great illuminated steel-staircase, surrounded by a four-story high mural of chiseled men in athletic poses, provides consumer circulation between floors.[28] On the lower floor is the "Jeans Bar" showcasing A&F premium denim reclined in glass cases.[28] The interior is kept dim through the use of a closed massive wooden louver system operating within the windows.[28] It is staffed mostly from NYC’s college population, which A&F recruiters pick according to their "looks" and high personal style.[28] Before the openings of the other flagships, this location served a major traffic of international A&F consumers (subsequent openings have only diminished with somewhat). Hence, it the highest grossing store on Fifth Avenue, sharing the title only with the Apple Store, with sales between $6,000 and $10,000 a square foot ($800 is considered successful at the most).[42]
  • Los Angeles / The Grove: Located in Q30 within The Grove, this is the American West Coast flagship store of Abercrombie & Fitch. 25,000 sqft of retail space are shared by three floors.[41]
  • Milan / Corso Matteotti: Situated on the prestigious 12 Corso Giacomo Matteotti,[43] the location is the world's first and only to house both A&F and abercrombie flagship stores under the same roof. Opened on 29 October 2009 at 10:00am (CET),[44][45][46][47] it is called "the best store in Italy" by its Italian fans.[48] The opening was highly anticipated:[49] A great crowd formulated hours before the opening (lines lasting until closing),[48][50] and both generated upwards of $1 million USD on their opening weekend (an unheard of sum for an opening day). The total retail space is 32,400sqft across five floors: A&F occupies 3,056[51] square meters (three floors) and abercrombie occupies 5,400 sqft (two floors).[52] The company preserved the original 1939 facadé, terraces and precious marble (from Musso) all designed by the famous Italian designer and architect Gio Ponti. Meanwhile, the interior follows the flagship Fifth Avenue prototype.[52] However, instead of the typical main marketing portrait hung on the wall parallel to the entrance, there is a massive mural of chiseled men.[53] Two more murals are located further inside.[51] The location is strategically[52] a walk away from upscale Via Monte Napoleone (Milan's fashion center), Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and San Babila Square and Meda Square.[54] In late-November 2009, A&F released a promotional film of the flagship titled "A&F Milan".[55]

"There's a huge demand for the [A&F] brand in the Tokyo market."[56] - Tom Lennox, 2006

  • Tokyo / Ginza: Currently the first and only Abercrombie & Fitch location in Asia, this flagship store is located in Ginza (a prestigious global shopping district) at 6-9-10, Ginza, Chūō-ku.[57] A&F’s Tokyo flagship houses the world’s largest commissioned, hand-painted mural in history (measuring 55 meters tall and over 820sq meters).[51] Music plays throughout the building through the use of 114 speakers and 83 sub woofers[51] and an entire level is dedicated to A&F premium denim.[51] Prices within are notoriously nearly double the price of the American counterparts.[58] Foreign western "models" are hired to work there to provide a unique experience for A&F's Far East consumers. Although, for linguistic customer service purposes, Japanese "models" are also in staff.[59] Among the flagship's immediate neighbors are Prada and Ferragamo.[59] The opening of A&F in Asia's fashion capital took years of careful planing.[56] A&F began to advertise itself in Ginza in 2006,[60] and also began scouting for retail spots in Ginza and Omotesandō, anticipating a 2008 opening.[56] On 7 August 2007, A&F announced to the press its deal with Hiroyuki Tanaka of PROD Co. Ltd to open in Ginza in 2009.[61] Construction began with Selldorf Architects signed on for design.[62] Responsible for the Fifth Avenue and Burlington Gardens flagships, SA modeled the Ginza location as a twin of the New York flagship.[62] Building constraints (Ginza is particularly crowded) inspired the "impressive in scale"[51] thirteen story[47] design incorporating two elevators and a fire glass staircase for consumer use connecting all floors and mezzanine.[62] The first eleven floors are occupied as 23,000sqft retail space, while the upper two floors serve as office and staff quarters. Its height ultimately makes it the tallest building in Ginza.[51] Before the opening, male store models posed outside the facade (third and fourth floors covered over by a marketing image) for promotion and press.[59] Meanwhile, much of the staff went around Omotesandō distributing 6'x2' posters, to the crowds, bearing the words "GINZA"/"FIERCE" in bold/red.[63] Before and after the opening, a bus (covered all around with an image of two male torsos) drove around the streets of Tokyo playing A&F music and spraying the street with Fierce cologne. About 500 people were present hours before the opening,[58] most of whom were also given posters.[63] Later, lines almost a mile long consisting of up to 1,200[63] people wraped around the streets of Ginza awaiting for the opening, and it caught the attention of Tokyo's police force for traffic purposes.[58][63][64][65] All the hype culminated into a historical opening day in retail. The staff proclaimed "Hi guys!" upon finally opening doors[65] on 15[66] December 2009 at 11:00am (JST).[1][46][47][61][62] Within a few hours, entrance was limited due to overcrowding inside.[58] Cashwrap screens carried the phrase, "WE LOVE GINZA!". The historical recordbreaking opening was broadcast as "a spectacle of consumerism"[67] on several news stations throughout Japan.[59][68] David Marx called the location, "...a great place to broadcast to the rest of Asia [...] about the brand in the luxury context."[65] Japanese analysts will observe the financial progress of the flagship to determine future consumer patters in the area.[65] A promotional film of the flagship was launched in February 2010, titled "A&F Ginza".

Other A&F brands

A&F currently has three other concepts apart from its namesake, Abercrombie & Fitch. While referred to as subsidiaries, the brands do not operate separately contrary to the definition; all brands are completely managed under the same Abercrombie & Fitch workforce. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. holds full rights and ownership to every trademark of the following brands.

Prep-school by Abercrombie & Fitch[69] Themed as "classic cool" for preteens 7 through 14[2], this is the children's version of Abercrombie & Fitch. Uses blue (against the A&F gray), blasts music from young artists, and spells marketing trademarks all-lowercase.
Hollister Co.
Southern California by Abercrombie & Fitch[69] Themed after "SoCal" for teenagers 14 through 18[2], Hollister has lower price points compared to its parent brand. The brand's stores resemble surf shacks with dim lighting, and blast rock music. It is the first of these brands to offer a personal body care line.
Gilly Hicks
The cheeky cousin of Abercrombie & Fitch[69] Themed after "Down Under" Sydney, Australia. The latest brand from Abercrombie & Fitch, it offers underwear and loungewear for women 18 and up.[70]

There is an ongoing movement by parent A&F to advertise all its three children brands as being "...by Abercrombie & Fitch." This is in effort to raise consumer awareness that the three brands abercrombie, HCO, and Gilly Hicks are BY A&F and are not stand-alone companies as some consumers believe. The anticipated result is a reputation-rise for the spin-off brands, by being advertised as being offspring of the successful Abercrombie & Fitch company.

Humanitarian works

In recent times, Abercrombie & Fitch has become a philanthropic company, active in numerous humanitarian projects. In January 2010, The company launched the A&F Cares feature on its home page to provide information to its consumers about its work effort in the following fields: diversity & inclusion, human rights, philanthropy, and sustainability.[71]

A&F Challenge

The A&F Challenge is an annual held Fundraiser event by Abercrombie & Fitch. It features running, walking, biking with entertainment and food. A&F hosted the 8th Annual A&F Challenge on September 27, 2008 on its Home Office campus in New Albany. The funds raised will go to the Ohio State University Medical Center's Program for Health. It focuses on "women's cancers and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease."[72] The entertainment for the 2008 A&F challenge was Five Times August.[73]


Abercrombie & Fitch partnered with the National Society of High School Scholars at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia on December 1, 2007 to offer $75,000 scholarships to NSHSS members.[74]

Future plans

A&F successfully closed complete operations of its ailing Ruehl No.925 concept by the beginning of the fiscal year in late January.[75] Total capital expenditures are expected to be in the range of $250 million USD to $260 million USD for 2010.[75] $215 million to $225 million is to be related to new stores, store refreshes and remodels, and approximately $35 million related to information technology, distribution center and other home office projects.[75] Abercrombie & Fitch is also on track to open flagships in Copenhagen (Denmark) and Fukuoka (Japan) by the end of the year.[75] Additionally, the company will open 30 HCo mall-based locations internationally and a second EPIC flagship in New York City.[75]

Expansion campaign

The Abercrombie & Fitch brand has reached its maximum potential in its American home market. International expansion commensed in 2006 with the main long-term goal of successfully executing a strategy of flagship openings, for A&F (and eventually all its brands), in high-profile shopping centers worldwide.[76] Francesco Giannaccari (from luxury company Gucci Group) oversaw the beginnings of Abercrombie & Fitch's international expansion.[56] His vision was more rapid than what Jeffries felt was right, and so Giannaccari stepped down. The directive was then adjusted for growth at a "deliberate pace".[77]


Canadian expansion is expected to continue, with more mall store locations for Abercrombie & Fitch, and its abercrombie and HCo brands, in upcoming years.[78]


The company had been considering European expansion since the early 2000s. Ensured that the demand for Abercrombie & Fitch had grown strong there,[79] it successfully entered the European market in 2007 with the opening of its London flagship. Since then, Abercrombie & Fitch has been attempting to secure locations in Italy (Milan flagship opened in 2009), France (2011), Germany, Spain, Denmark (2010) and Sweden.[79][80] Preliminary talks about opening a store in Dublin, Ireland have also been held.[81]

The following are future flagship store openings:

  • Copenhagen flagship: To be located at Købmagergade 11 in a 16,000 sq ft (1,500 m2) space (first constructed in 1910), the flagship will be designed to implement old neoclassical Danish architecture along with the A&F lifestyle.[80] The opening date has been moved to 2010[82] from 2009.[45][75]
  • Madrid flagship: Although not officially reported from Abercrombie & Fitch, plans for a flagship in Spain's capital are in the works.[83]
  • Paris flagship: A third opening in Europe, this location on the famed Avenue des Champs-Élysées in building No.23[84] is expected to open doors in 2011.[46][85] Abercrombie & Fitch got the approval from the French government to go ahead with construction early in 2009.[46] French law prohibits retailers from leasing space on the historically valuable avenue without consulting government approval, all in effort to protect the image of Champs-Élysées by exclusively admitting upscale retailers.[86] The entrance price was marked at 2.2 million, with an annual rental fee of €3.3 million not including tax and additional charges.[87] Renovations and construction has begun.[87]


"We've known for some time that there are huge opportunities for us throughout the Far East.[56] - A&F spokesperson Tom Lennox, 2006

As with Europe, expansion into Asia has also hold a strong interest for Abercrombie & Fitch. Now that it has opened Asia's first A&F location in Tokyo to paramount success (in 2009), the company will primarily focus on the Chinese and Japanese markets where luxury consumption is noticeably high.[88]

  • Japan locations: A&F plans on opening a secondary flagship store, to meet the demand for A&F in southern Japan, in Fukuoka in late-2010.[82][75] So great is the demand throughout the country that Abercrombie & Fitch anticipates opening additional small retail locations throughout the rest of Japan in the near future.[89] Japan will become the first country, apart from the US, to host an influx of A&F stores. But within all the positive reception of A&F in Japan, there is Kensuke Kojima commenting that, "Abercrombie’s long-established WASPy and masculine image does not match the current Japanese market trend for non-aggressive styles."[65]
  • China locations: While not in the scale of flagships, A&F is looking forward to retail spots in China as well.[90]

Defunct concepts

Legal issues

Since the rise in popularity of Abercrombie & Fitch, the brand has been involved in legal conflicts over employment practices and clothing style.

Lawsuit against American Eagle Outfitters

In 2002, Abercrombie & Fitch filed a lawsuit against American Eagle Outfitters, claiming that they copied their garments' designs, among other things. The lawsuit was based on a trade dress claim, stating that American Eagle Outfitters had very closely mimicked Abercrombie & Fitch's products' visual appearance and packaging. Specifically, A&F claimed that American Eagle Outfitters copied particular articles of clothing, in-store displays and advertisements, and even the A&F product catalog. Despite the admission that American Eagle may have utilized very similar materials, designs, in-store displays, symbols, color combinations, and patterns as Abercrombie & Fitch, the court ruled that there was not an excessive level of similarity to confuse potential customers, and therefore the court ruled in favor of the defendant, American Eagle Outfitters.[91]

Employment practices

In 2004 lawsuit González v. Abercrombie & Fitch, the company was accused of discriminating against ethnic minorities by preferentially offering desirable positions to White American employees.[92] The company agreed to an out-of-court settlement of the class action suit. As part of the settlement terms, Abercrombie and Fitch agreed to pay US$45 million to rejected applicants and affected employees, include more minorities in advertising campaigns, appoint a Vice President of Diversity, hire 25 recruiters to seek minority employees, and discontinue the practice of recruiting employees at primarily white fraternities and sororities.[21][93]

In June 2009, British law student Riam Dean, who had worked at A&F's flagship store in London's Saville Row, took the company to an employment tribunal. Dean, who was born without a left forearm, claimed that although she was initially given special permission to wear clothing that covered her prosthetic limb, soon after she was told that her appearance breached the company's "Look Policy", and she was sent to work in the stock room, out of sight of customers. Dean sued the company for disability discrimination, and sought up to £20,000 in damages.[94] On 13 August 2009, Dean won her case against A&F, A tribunal ruled the 22-year-old was wrongfully dismissed and unlawfully harassed. However, Dean was awarded £6,800 compensation for hurt feelings £1,077 for loss of earnings and the basic £136 compensation for wrongful dismissal (£8,013 in total). The tribunal rejected her claim for disability discrimination, stating: "Whilst the tribunal is satisfied the claimant's dismissal was a consequence of her unlawful harassment, it can not be characterised direct disability discrimination."[95][96]

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, September 16, 2009 in U.S. District Court in Tulsa by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 17-year-old Samantha Elauf said she applied for a sales position at the Abercrombie Kids store in the Woodland Hills Mall in June 2008. The teen, who wears a hijab in accordance with her religious beliefs, claims the manager told her the head scarf violates the store's "Look Policy."

In 2010, a Muslim woman working at a Hollister store owned (by Abercrombie and Fitch) in San Mateo, California was abruptly fired. Before bieng dismissed, Hani Khan had refused Abercrombie & Fitch's HR representative's demand that she remove her headscarf. The representative reportedly stated that the headscarf, which Khan wears for religious reasons, violated the company's "look policy". Civil liberties group, CAIR, has stated that the dismissal is a violation of nondiscrimination laws, and filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.[97]

Other issues

Discrimination against person with autism

In 2009 Abercrombie & Fitch was fined more than $115,000 by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights for refusing to let a teen-age girl help her sister, who has autism, try on clothes in a fitting room.[98] The amount of the fine reflected the company's failure to respond to complaints by the girls' mother and its subsequent charge that the girl in question did not really have autism.

Violation of privacy

A sixteen year-old is suing the company after discovering that she was being videotaped in an Abercrombie & Fitch changing room by an employee, Kenneth Applegate II. Applegate denied the claim, but co-workers discovered his camera days later with the video on it.[99]

Lawsuit against Beyoncé

Controversy and criticism

Since its re-establishment in 1988, Abercrombie & Fitch has faced numerous accusations in regards to its employment practices, merchandise, and advertising campaigns which have been described as sexually explicit and racist.[23][100]

Labor practices

In November 2009, Abercrombie & Fitch, along with Gymboree, Hanes, Ikea, Kohl’s, LL Bean, Pier 1, Propper International, and Walmart, was added to the 2010 Sweatshop Hall of Shame by the labor rights group International Labor Rights Forum.[101]

A&F Quarterly

Conservative and religious groups banned the original American publication of A&F Quarterly (published from 1997 to 2003) for its sexually explicit nature.[102] The magazine contained nude photography by Bruce Weber, articles about sex, and recipes for alcoholic beverages. Also acting as a catalog, the Quarterly displayed the brand's merchandise with information and prices. Advertisements for the A&F Quarterly appeared in Interview, Out, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair.[103]

Despite a company policy restricting sale of the publication to minors, critics charged that the publication was readily sold to minors. In 2003, an array of religious organizations, women's rights activists, and Asian American groups organized boycotts and protests over the publication, and the "Christmas Edition" of the catalog was removed from stores.[104] However, Jeffries said he chose to discontinue the catalog, because "Frankly, [he] was getting sick of the old one; it was getting boring."[105]

Product criticism

In 2002, Abercrombie & Fitch sold a shirt that featured the slogan "Wong Brothers Laundry Service—Two Wongs Can Make It White" with smiling figures in conical straw hats, a depiction of early Chinese immigrants. The company discontinued the designs and apologized after a boycott started by an Asian American student group at Stanford University.[106] That same year, abercrombie kids removed a line of thong underwear sold for girls in pre-teen children's sizes after parents mounted nationwide storefront protests. The underwear included phrases like "Eye Candy" and "Wink Wink" printed on the front.[107]

More t-shirt controversies occurred twice in 2004. The first incident involved a shirt featuring the phrase, "It's All Relative in West Virginia," a jab at alleged incest relations in rural America. West Virginia governor Bob Wise spoke out against the company for depicting "an unfounded, negative stereotype of West Virginia," but the shirts were not removed.[108] Later, another t-shirt that said "L is for Loser" next to a picture of a male gymnast on the rings gathered publicity. The company stopped selling the shirt in October 2004 after USA Gymnastics president Bob Colarossi announced a boycott of Abercrombie & Fitch for mocking the sport.[109]

In 2005, the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania launched a "girlcott" of the store for selling T-shirts that read, "Who needs brains when you have these?", "Available for parties," and "I had a nightmare I was a brunette." The campaign received national coverage on The Today Show, and the company pulled the shirts from stores on November 5, 2005.[110]

Bob Jones University and its affiliated pre-collegiate schools along with other Christian schools have prohibited Abercrombie & Fitch clothing from being "worn, carried, or displayed" on its campuses because of "an unusual degree of antagonism to the name of Christ and an unusual display of wickedness" in the company's promotions.[111]

After Abercrombie & Fitch raised its price points in 2004, its products have been described as overpriced.[105] After the company opened its flagship in London, the brand was criticized in the UK because the merchandise that was offered to the customers cost double (or even a direct $/£ swap) the prices found in the United States.[112]

Controversy has risen yet again over A&F's Back-to-School 2009 collection of "humor tees".[113] A men's shirt proclaims "Show the twins" over a young woman with her blouse open to two college men. Two other shirts state "Female streaking encouraged" and "Female Students Wanted for Sexual Research".[113] The AFA disapproves over A&F negligence to the fact that it is a brand looked up to by teens and wants the brand to remove the "sexualized shirts" merchandise.[113]

The Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department and Trauma Center

In 2008, Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio agreed to rename its emergency room to the Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department and Trauma Center in exchange for a $10 million donation from Abercrombie & Fitch.[114] A letter written by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, signed by over 100 doctors and children's advocacy groups, argued against the renaming, for the "company's appalling history of targeting children with sexualized marketing and clothing."[115]

In popular culture

  • In the 1967 film, Bedazzled, Peter Cook's character introduces himself as "Mr. Abercrombie" to Mrs. Fitch during a crank phone call, telling her that Mr. Fitch is having an affair with his secretary.[116]


Improv Everywhere, a comedy group that pulls public pranks en masse, parodied A&F's ads featuring bare-chested male models by having 111 "agents" enter the A&F store in New York City and remove their shirts. This drew mixed, but mostly amused, reactions from customers and staff, but store security quickly ejected the IE members.[117]

MADtv, a sketch comedy television series, parodied A&F's homoerotic advertising images and hiring practices. In these skits, three Abercrombie & Fitch Employees are depicted as vain, vapid, unhelpful, and overly coifed uptight men with names like "Carpenter", "Dutch", "Cougar", "Turtle", and "Storm". They also participate in sports such as waterpolo, crew, swimteam, lacrosse, rugby, skiing, and squash. However, in one sketch, a young woman named "Apple" (Alanis Morissette) reminds the male employees that Abercrombie is also about "girls with sun-kissed skin and medium sized breasts who get together at dawn to play topless flag football."


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  64. ^ アバクロ銀座、開店日の様子
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  101. ^ The 2010 Sweatshop Hall of Shame
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  111. ^ "Dress Code." Bob Jones University. Retrieved on September 19, 2009.
  112. ^ Poulter, Sean (April 6, 2007). "The trendy US gear that costs double over here". Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=446004&in_page_id=1770. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
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  114. ^ Elliot, Stuart (March 12, 2008). "When a Corporate Donation Raises Protests". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/12/business/media/12adco.html?scp=7&sq=Abercrombie%20Fitch&st=cse. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  115. ^ Cut Abercrombie name from ER, advocates say - CNN.com
  116. ^ [7]
  117. ^ Improv Everywhere. No Shirts. Improv Everywhere's blog post on the "No Shirts" prank.

Simple English










Abercrombie & Fitch

Type Public (NYSE: ANF)
S&P 500 Component
Founded 1892
Founder David T. Abercrombie, Founder
Ezra Fitch, Co-Founder
Headquarters New Albany, Ohio, United States
Area served United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy and Japan
Key people Michael S. Jeffries, Chairman & CEO
Bruce Weber, photographer
John Urbano, marketing film director
Industry Fashion retail[1]
Revenue Entire Company:
US$3.54 Billion (FY 2009)[2]
A&F alone:
$1.6 billion (FY 2007)[3][4]
Net income US$272 Million (FY 2009)[2]
Employees Entire Company: 10,000 (2008)
Divisions Abercrombie kids, Hollister Co., Gilly Hicks
Website http://www.abercrombie.com

Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF) (A&F) is an American clothing retailer sold as a lifestyle brand. The company has four brands: the Abercrombie & Fitch brand, abercrombie kids, Hollister Co., and Gilly Hicks. The company also had another brand called RUEHL No.925 which closed in January 2010. Stores operate in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. It was created by David Abercrombie and Ezra H. Fitch. [5] Abercrombie & Fitch was created in 1892. In this year, David Abercrombie opened the first store in New York City.


  1. "Teen fashion retailer Abercrombie says first Asian store to open in Tokyo in 2009". International Herald Tribune (The New York Times Company). August 7, 2007. http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/08/07/business/NA-FIN-COM-US-Abercrombie-Tokyo.php. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Abercrombie & Fitch Company (ANF) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest
  3. Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) 10-K 2007, "Financial Summary", p. 34
  4. Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) First Quarter Earnings Release 2008
  5. View Competitors for Abercrombie & Fitch Company (ANF)

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