Way Beyond Fly Fishing at Abercrombie & Fitch

There is an article in today's New York Times about the relatively dangerous actions taken by the chief of retail chain Abercrombie & Fitch.

Michael S. Jeffries, who has seen the company's sales dip over the past few years, has decided to ignore - and even directly oppose - analyst warnings about the brand. It's too expensive, it caters to the wrong market, it's offensive, they say.

So what? is Jeffries' response. He decided to raise the price of their jeans and continue production on rude (albeit humorous) t-shirts. The only thing he IS changing is the catalog, which has been pulled from shelves in the past because for a clothing catalog it showed very little clothing.

Is it all about the image with Abercrombie? Sure, it has a preppy-turned-sort-of-wild attitude. But for $148 per pair of pants, how many preppy teens and twenty-somethings can afford an Abercrombie wardrobe anymore? It seems to me that Jeffries is sacrificing practicality just to keep the buzz going around a company that has seen better days. Who knows if his crazy plan will work? But for now, his store is back in the headlines and in the minds of consumers.

How have you defied expert advice to try to succeed? Has it worked?

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  • Lisa

    Interestingly, Abercrombie & Fitch is dead last in popularity among 1,074 brands listed on the "Lovemarks" website. They're even less popular then George W. Bush who comes in at 1,071.

  • Darrin Dickey

    Ignoring analysts can be OK, but ignoring your customers is just plain stupid. And it appears A&F has been ignoring customers for some time. Your sales have dropped, you've got a bad street rep - get a clue!
    You can foster a rebellious brand if you've got rabid, hard-core fans/customers. (Refer to Harley Davidson or The Grateful Dead for examples.) But if you ignore those customers, they'll abandon you in no time, which seems to be what is happening with Abercrombie & Fitch. (Refer to most major airlines or cell phone service providers for examples.)