Abercrombie & Fitch Revamps Its Stores, Adds a Little Black, And Gets Serious About the Internet

Abercrombie is making some big changes. But you wonder whether they're ready or not.

abercrombie IGAbercrombie & Fitch has had its fair share of ups and downs. And now they’re definitely in a slump. Sales are down (77 percent last year), the CEO, Mike Jeffries, is under siege for not moving the company forward and they’ve insulted just about everyone in one way or another.

It’s time for a change, and A&F has decided it will “appeal to a new generation of teens by toning down the stores’ nightclub vibe, minimizing the chain’s signature logos and enlisting so-called Instagram kids in marketing,” says Bloomberg.

That Instagram comment is a little worrying, but the changes that are described are actually pretty dramatic considering how A&F previously presented itself.

The Bloomberg reporter saw a mock up and says:

The blinds on Abercrombie windows are gone, and the company is experimenting with window displays for the first time. Gone, too, are the ubiquitous photos of abs that have offended so many people over the years; they have been replaced with images and mannequins touting the clothes.

The company is also taking its logo off of some things, partnering with other companies, using less fragrance in the stores and introducing both black clothing and larger sizes. Say what?!

Back to those “Instagram kids,” fashion blogger Negin Mirsalehi, featured in the picture above, is one of those social media immersed that the company is turning to for a boost. She’s got more than 1.3 million Instagram followers and a thriving website. They also tapped one of their models, Andrew Knot, for a YouTube video of his time with Abercrombie in Shanghai, and seemingly an actual young person with 250 Instagram followers, among others.

The Bloomberg story ends with a comment from an analyst, Dorothy Lakner from Topeka Capital Markets, calling the moves that the retailer is making very basic. Which is interesting. For a CEO who, at 69, prides himself on being youthful and a brand that sells a great majority of its goods to young people, there seems to be something slightly out of touch about the whole thing. Big changes needed to be made, but you wonder whether the company is ready to make a shift.

image via @Abercrombie IG