Abercrombie & Fitch tried to remake its image — but its website shows everything that’s still wrong with the brand

caption
Abercrombie’s more laid back, updated look has failed to boost sales at the retailer.
source
Abercrombie & Fitch/Matt Jones

Abercrombie & Fitch is in trouble.

The teen retailer is working with an investment bank to find a buyer, according to a Reuters report published Wednesday.

The company’s operating income plummeted to $15.2 million in 2016, down from $72.8 million in 2015, and it is closing dozens of stores amid an effort to revamp its brand.

Abercrombie has struggled to keep up with teen trends in recent years. The company has tried to modernize with changes such as redesigning stores, ditching its logo-heavy styles, and dropping its super-sexualized advertising.

A scroll through Abercrombie’s website, however, shows that the retailer still has some major problems.


Discounts are normal in retail. But no brand wants almost every item to be 40% to 60% off. This isn’t even the site’s sale section.

source
Abercrombie

Abercrombie was promoting a $29 dress sale. But it’s not just dresses you’ll see steep discounts on.

source
Abercrombie

This skirt is being sold for $10, an 80% discount off its original price.

source
Abercrombie

Major discounts usually mean retailers are having a hard time clearing inventory. In other words, they ordered too much of one style, and people aren’t buying it.

source
Abercrombie

Some of the steepest discounts are on items that represent Abercrombie’s attempt to tap into recent trends.

source
Abercrombie

Comparing Abercrombie’s “trendy” looks with similar items from other retailers reveals exactly how Abercrombie is falling short.

source
Abercrombie

Take jumpsuits. Zara, a fast-fashion retailer known for nailing its fresh off-the-runway looks, is selling a wider variety of styles at lower prices than Abercrombie is.

caption
Top Abercrombie, bottom Zara.
source
Zara and Abercrombie

And, if customers are looking for even bigger deals, they can just go to Forever 21, which is selling jumpsuits for as low as $12.

source
Forever 21

Fast-fashion retailers like Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 can beat Abercrombie when it comes to both trends and prices.

source
Abercrombie and HM

Abercrombie has tried to boost sales by entering the athleisure market — but it doesn’t seem as if customers are biting.

source
Abercrombie

While Abercrombie has tried to ditch its signature look of slapping its logo on every piece of clothing, the retailer still has an entire section called “A&F Logo Shop.”

source
Abercrombie

In general, Abercrombie seems to be struggling to figure out what it wants its brand to be.


Ditching sexy, shirtless male models for a more down-to-earth image fits with what customers want — but it also meant giving up what made Abercrombie unique and instantly recognizable.

source
Reuters/Benoit Tessier

Now, the retailer is stuck trying to compete with fast-fashion chains that have built their business on quickly adapting to trends at low prices — something Abercrombie is still figuring out how to do best.

One-shoulder tan = the new farmer’s tan. #MyANF @saratickle

A post shared by Abercrombie & Fitch (@abercrombie) on


If Abercrombie is, in fact, looking for a buyer, the new owner needs to come in with a game plan to set the chain apart instead of selling items that fail to excite customers and look as if they belong on the shelves of other retailers.