Investors Aren’t Impressed With Abercrombie & Fitch’s New Business Plan

Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) reports 4Q16 earnings results; Topline down 7%; Misses Estimate


Specialty and teen retailers have had quite a bit of trouble over the past few years in attracting consumers to their stores.

It isn’t that teens aren’t spending money on clothes, rather the way they spend it has changed.  Gone are the days when teens flock to stores like Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF) in large numbers to buy expensive shirts and sweaters that merely display the retailer’s logo.  Gone are the days of expensive jeans as well.

Teens have chose to embrace “fast fashion” names that offer fashionable clothing and accessories at much lower prices.  Meanwhile, off-price retailers, like TJX Companies (NYSE: TJX) are offering consumers notable savings on everyday fashion items.

Companies like Abercrombie have seen their business plummet over the years, not to mention its stock.  Shares of the retailer have lost more than 40 percent since the start of 2016 and more than 75 percent over the past five years.

Abercrombie has a new game plan which it communicated on Thursday.  However, the stock was trading in negative territory following the update which implies investors aren’t faithful that any meaningful change is around the corner.

Abercrombie said on Thursday it is launching a “redefined brand identity that celebrates individuality and uniqueness of today’s consumers.”

The brand update will coincide with the company’s largest advertising campaign to date and will include a completely redesigned website, all-new digital advertising across video streaming websites, music platforms and social media.

As noted by the company’s press release, the a teaser campaign will be soon introduced to “pique consumers’ interests, challenge their notions of the ANF brand and encourage them to explore the changes that have taken place at ANF.”

“This new brand position is the product of an 18-month effort to create a brand identity that communicates our focus on our customers’ needs and aspirations,” said Fran Horowitz, President and Chief Merchandising Officer of Abercrombie & Fitch Co.  “Rather than buying clothes that symbolize membership in an exclusive group, today’s consumer celebrates individuality and uniqueness.  Our new brand reflects that confidence and independence of spirit as well as our own dedication to a more diverse and inclusive culture.”

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