Abercrombie & Fitch reported a same-store sales decline for the 14th consecutive quarter yesterday, but a decline that is lessening. The teen apparel retailer could be recovering, due largely in part to its Hollister brand and recent efforts to reposition itself.
Earlier this year the brand diluted former CEO Mike Jeffries’ infamous ‘Look Policy’ as well as removing dim lighting and loud music from some of its stores.
“A&F now needs to be much more decisive about what it stands for and who it wants to serve: in essence it needs a much clearer and more relevant brand identity,” coments Neil Saunders, CEO of retail consultancy Conlumnio. “This is far from an easy task and A&F has to tread a careful line between toning down the brasher elements of its image and becoming too generic — which will pitch it more firmly against cheaper competitors like H&M and Forever 21.”
While the company continues to search for Jeffries’ successor, Arthur Martinez, Executive Chairman, has been fronting Abercrombie & Fitch.
“While our turnaround won’t be accomplished overnight, we believe the changes we are making will reinvigorate our iconic brands and lead to meaningful and lasting improvement,” he commented, adding that “customer perception will only change when we improve the product lines and product assortment,” Martinez.
Abercrombie said that it expects sales to continue to improve in the remaining three quarters.