In an ironic twist of events, and a telling sign of the times, Abercrombie & Fitch has announced that it will be increasing its size range. This from the same company whose CEO once claimed that it only catered for ‘cool’ and ‘attractive’ American teenagers and had an openly exclusionary attitude.
The extension of sizes can be seen not so much as a defeat but an acceptance that the retailer’s core consumer has evolved. With social media providing the impetus for standing out rather than fitting in, it is evident that millennial consumers prefer creating their own identities. Socialising at shopping malls has been replaced by Snapchat and ‘selfies’. Cookie-cut logos have been replaced by tongue-in-cheek slogans and fashion-forward designs.
None of these changes have boded well for Abercrombie & Fitch, whose steady decline continued in its third quarter of 2013, with comparable sales dropping by 14%. The problem with the retailer is that its main distinguishing point has always been its branding. Its product is a uniform that shows allegiance to a ‘cool’ kids club that today’s American teenagers do not relate to.