Abercrombie & Fitch has spent millions on making over its image — and it looks like it’s finally paying off

Abercrombie is cool again.

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Abercrombie is cool again.
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Abercrombie

  • After years of struggling, Abercrombie & Fitch reported positive sales growth at its namesake brand in the fourth quarter of 2017.
  • This growth was driven by greater investment in stores, marketing, and omnichannel experiences.
  • We compared our experience of shopping online at Abercrombie in May 2017 versus today.

Abercrombie & Fitch is on its way to becoming cool again.

Abercrombie & Fitch, which also owns successful sister brand Hollister, reported positive same-store sales growth for the first time in six years during the third quarter of 2017. While this 4% increase was thanks to strong growth at Hollister, the Abercrombie brand itself showed signs of improvement.

During the fourth quarter of 2017, Abercrombie finally had its comeback, reporting an impressive 5% increase in same-store sales.

On Thursday, credit-ratings agency Moody’s raised its rating for the company.

“The upgrade reflects the 2017 recovery in both the Hollister and Abercrombie brands and Moody’s expectation that operating performance will remain solid,” Moody’s wrote in a note to clients.

Abercrombie has been working hard to execute a comeback by investing in stores, closing unprofitable locations, improving its product assortment, and working on its marketing strategy.

In the past, it was accused of losing relevance with customers who grew tired of oversexualized ads and shopping in its nearly pitch-black stores with booming music and air that was thick with the smell of cologne.

In May 2017, Business Insider’s Kate Taylor checked out the experience of shopping online at Abercrombie. We compared that to the shopping experience now that its sales are on the upswing:


Back in May, discounts were the flavor of the month. Almost every item on the website was posted with a 40% to 60% discount.

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Abercrombie

One skirt was being sold for $10, an 80% discount off its original price. Heavy discounting usually signals that a retailer is looking to get rid of excess inventory.

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Abercrombie

The price point on dresses and jumpsuits today is similar to what we saw in May 2017, but there’s considerably less clothing on sale.

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Abercrombie

CEO Fran Horowitz told Business Insider that its denim business was one of its most successful sections in 2017. While the price point is certainly higher than fast-fashion competitors such as Zara, the store is offering 50% off if you purchase a second pair.

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Abercrombie

In 2014, Abercrombie’s former CEO, Mike Jeffries, initiated a move to ditch the brand’s signature logo from clothing. Despite this, the store still has a section online dedicated to logos. However, it feels infinitely more subtle than before.

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Abercrombie

The really loud logos have been relegated to the clearance section.

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Abercrombie

As part of its makeover, Abercrombie has ditched its shirtless male models …

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Reuters/Benoit Tessier

… and is instead opting for a more down-to-earth look.

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Abercrombie

In its ads today, the chiseled torsos have been replaced with rugged, vintage shots.

Abercrombie is cool again.

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Abercrombie

There’s definitely more of a focus on an outdoorsy lifestyle, experiences, and travel. In several shots on its Facebook page, you’ll find models trudging through snow or trekking through the woods.

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Abercrombie

The company has made a significant investment in its stores over the past year. In 2017, it created seven new Abercrombie prototype stores, downsized 16 of its stores, and closed 39.

The parent company said it would close up to 60 more stores across its brands in 2018.


The new stores are designed to have more of a boutique feel with a shop-in-shop fragrance section, larger fitting rooms, and “order online collect in-store” offerings.

“We still think the store has a role in the future of retail,” Joanne Crevoiserat, chief operating officer at Abercrombie & Fitch, told Business Insider.

“We want to make sure the customer is served where they are,” she said.


Its kid’s section also had a makeover. In January, the brand launched a collection of gender-neutral clothing. The new collection marked an important turning point for the chain as it looks to be more inclusive and relevant in its clothing offerings.

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Abercrombie