Embattled Abercrombie CEO Backpedals on Exclusionary Comments

Brand took a hit last week, says consumer perception tracking firm

After a viral video incited widespread backlash against Abercrombie & Fitch Co., CEO Michael S. Jeffries tried to stem the tide of hostility, according to the L.A. Times.

Critics lambasted the company as discriminatory, citing a Salon interview with the CEO: "Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong."

In a statement, Jeffries responded to criticism over his comments that Abercrombie is "exclusionary" and will never sell women's clothing in XL and XXL sizes.

"A&F is an aspirational brand that, like most specialty apparel brands, targets its marketing at a particular segment of customers," Jeffries said. "However, we care about the broader communities in which we operate and are strongly committed to diversity and inclusion."

Data from consumer perception tracking firm YouGov BrandIndex indicated that attitudes toward the Abercrombie brand among 18- to 34-year-olds took a hit this week. Meanwhile, H&M, lauded for featuring nontraditional models in its ads, gained a boost.

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