Monday, July 6, 2015

The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie

While reading the articles I thought back to my middle school and high school years of clothing shopping.  I thought it was hip to shop at Abercrombie and Fitch when I was younger because it seemed to be the place that all young adults were flocking to in hopes of recreating their identity/finding their newest outfit.  Over the years Abercrombie and Fitch has taken on new identities themselves, and developed new strategies in order to promote growth within the company.  The company started out as a sporting goods store in the late 1800’s and by 1988 the Limited Brands had acquired them for 47 million.  The new CEO Michael Jeffries changed the theme of the company from sporting goods to young teen apparel.  Jeffries saw the future of the company in the teen apparel industry and saw it as a way to prosper in the long and short run.  He specifically hired individuals to focus on young adults trends to ensure they kept up with all of the new trends. Jeffries BAHG worked well for those years—revenue increased to over 1 billion in the late 90’s.  His goal was also clear, engaging, and vibrant.  There were shirtless models throughout the store; it had a sex appeal that young teens flocked to and parents most likely opposed. 

The BAHG had been accomplished, but once that had happened profits began to decrease. For over approximately twenty years Abercrombie and Fitch didn’t think their environment was going to change, so they didn’t alter their strategy or change either.  Without doing additional research, I would have no idea what the company’s core values are today just by going through the store.  They had been bought and sold and did a complete 360 in their target audience, ideology, and previous values of the great outdoors.    With that being said, when profits did begin to decrease in the 2000’s, the company did not use the adaptive approach—they didn’t adapt like other retailers and failed to be more experimental (although they created multiple mini brands aside from Abercrombie).  The company kept prices and quality the same, as well as target audience.  Although they created smaller brands, the main company stayed static.   Nonetheless, I would say previous to this downfall that the company used the shaping strategy because they shaped the way of their industry.  They went outside the norm and used sex appeal for a young audience for the first time, and paved their own way and it worked.   They attracted new markets from their old ways, and used new marketing techniques that weren’t seen with this audience.  It wasn’t until recent years that that strategy has begun to die down.    I think this instance shows how some companies and industries can cross into different strategies and go away from the norm of their respective industries. 

Lepore, Meredith. “ABERCROMBIE: How a Hunting and Fishing Store Became A Sex-Infused Teenybob Legend.”  Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc.  06 Apr 2011.  Web.  06 July 2015.

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