Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. The question is: what’s next?—

We’ve put the customer at the center of the business.” 

You won’t have to be good-looking to work for Abercrombie & Fitch Co. You’ll also be able to wear eye-liner, though not necessarily a nose ring.

The changes are the latest for the once high-flying retailer, which pioneered the sexy preppy look and made male models with ridiculously ripped abs a billboard standard. By retiring the “appearance and sense of style” hiring rule that stipulated attractiveness, Abercrombie is scrapping the last of the legacy of former Chief Executive Officer Mike Jeffries.

So gone is the legendary “Look Policy” for employees, which banned French-tip manicures, certain hair-styling products and, among other things, mustaches. Clerks will be referred to as brand representatives, not models. They still can’t wear extreme makeup or jewelry, but the rules are gentler. The idea is that sales forces should focus on selling, not on obsessing over their level of accepted handsomeness. So, Bye-Bye, Beefcake: Abercrombie’s Hot Salesclerk Policy Is Over.
Full Article by Lindsey Rupp via Bloomberg Business

Abercrombie & Fitch Dials Back The Sex by WSJ_Live

A&F said it will take time to see the impact on sales of the new policies, which also include an “improved sensory experience” that will adjust the scent, lighting, music and use of trees.

The changes may resonate with some teens. Goldia Kiteck, complained to a Wall Street Journal reporter about the strong smell of cologne wafting from an Abercrombie store in a Kansas mall in 2013. “You can smell the Axe all the way out here,” Ms. Kiteck said at the time, referring to the body spray brand. Abercrombie & Fitch dials back the sex.
Full Article by Suzanne Kapner and Joann S. Lublin via WSJ 

 Out of touch: a relic of another era, and attitude.I expect that now that the former visual identity is a part of history, it will also serve as an artifact of a sort: a record of a moment in time when teenage fantasy (or the adult fantasy of teenage fantasy, which may be more accurate) was used to sell clothes, unabashedly. Cultural anthropologists, take note.— The A&F Makeover: A Review By VANESSA FRIEDMAN via NYT
 

Fallen out of style, A&F To Change Its Image:
With heavy competition from fast-fashion retailers like Forever 21 and H&M,
A&F aims to reduce emphasis on sexualized advertising and focus more on customer service & diversity. Among the changes announced are eliminating sexualized advertising, no longer having shirtless models at new store openings, and eliminating sexualized pictures and advertising on bags, gift cards, and in stores. They are changing the name of store employees from "models" to "brand representatives", and will allow a more individualistic dress code. "Brand representatives" will also focus more on customer service by asking customers for help in stores, as opposed to past policies of aloofness. They also aim to promote more diversity among store employees and executives as well. A&F is signaling it will be implementing changes quickly.

 In search of a new identity:

What's the Latest by A&F?— Inspiration!
What happened to the customers?” At ease, Abercrombie & Fitch brand since 1892—long before anyone showed their abs in public. A&F running along — “there’s a clear sense of what needs to be done.” InspirationThe Latest from A&F!


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