Abercrombie & Fitch Having A Tough Time Luring Shoppers Despite Rebranding Efforts

Image courtesy of bargainmoose

Abercrombie & Fitch has been trying hard to shed its former image, one strengthened by “cool” executives who didn’t want to deal with any uncool customers, but it seems those turnaround efforts aren’t proving as fruitful as the retailer would like: profits for the company tumbled in the last quarter, and sales figures are far from promising.

The apparel chain reported its third straight quarter of declining-same store sales [PDF] showing the company’ struggles to convince shoppers it’s changed, and head honchos admit they’re feeling the heat.

“The challenges of the brand are deep and longstanding,” said Executive Chairman Arthur Martinez on an investors’ call Friday (h/t The Wall Street Journal). “All of this is complicated by a very challenging environment.”

That “challenging” environment he speaks of includes soft sales at stores usually frequented by tourists and flagship locations. The company also had too much outerwear in stock for such an unexpectedly warm start to the cold season.

Profits fell 81%, and sales at stores open at least a year fell 6% in the third quarter ending Oct. 29. The only sort of bright spot was Hollister, its teen-focused brand, where sales were flat.

In August, Abercrombie announced a new campaign that would instead focus on shoppers’ feelings about themselves on the inside, not on the outside. And from the sound of things, shoppers are feeling like they don’t want to go to Abercrombie & Fitch.

Struggles aside, Martinez says executives are convinced this is the way to go.

“The work that the team is doing is absolutely on target and has the full support of the board,” he said.

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