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Rebuilding Abercrombie & Fitch: From Exclusion to Inclusivity

By Partner


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The history behind the iconic brand's renaissance

Abercrombie & Fitch underwent a thorough rebranding in 2021 under the leadership of its new CEO, Fran Horowitz. From that year’s financial report, the company recorded its largest second-quarter operating income and margins since 2008, with revenues reaching pre-pandemic levels. The brand was able to rebound where many others failed due to a strong marketing strategy and a shift in its retail strategy. So, how exactly did Abercrombie & Fitch change and fall back into favor with consumers? Discover how the US company successfully rebranded and its opportunities for improvement through Lectra’s Retviews analysis.

The Departure of the Moose Trademark - Retviews Showcases the Clear Demise of Logos

When thinking of Abercrombie & Fitch, its iconic moose logo quickly comes to mind. In 2014, the brand dropped the moose in a business transformation strategy, considering that its target market found clothes with logos to be obsolete. Despite simplifying its logo to only the brand name, there has still been a prominent decrease in items displaying a logo, now accounting for just a minimal portion of its total collection.

Compared to 2021, the amount of discounted logo items for Abercrombie has doubled. The decline of logos is seen within the assortments of several US brands, as they are increasingly discounting items that feature a brand logo. Moreover, Banana Republic and Abercrombie & Fitch are also decreasing the average price of brand logo items. However, the opposite is seen within Gap Inc. – which, is the only brand to decrease discounts, but increase the price and assortment share of items with brand logos. This contrasting phenomenon could be attributed to the company's recent collaboration with Kanye West and Balenciaga –Yeezy GAP engineered by Balenciaga, the majority of which portrays Gap’s logo.

The Shift Towards Inclusivity and Diversity

One of the main reasons for Abercrombie & Fitch’s lack of success lies in its formerly sexualized marketing strategy and a tendency for exclusion – wanting to dress a specific type of shopper. The brand has turned its plan of action around by focusing on size inclusivity and diversity. One of the ways in which they have achieved this is by developing gender-inclusive collections; the latest of which was created in collaboration with the Trevor Project in honor of Pride 2022..

Taking a closer look at size inclusivity, Retviews’ indicates that Abercrombie offers a wide range of sizes compared to its competitors, lacking in the 4XL size. Moreover, despite Abercrombie's move toward more inclusive sizing, the brand is still behind competitors regarding its sportswear collection. Compared to other activewear and apparel brands, Abercrombie is missing sizes 3XL and 4XL. Increasing the size of their merchandise is an aspect that the brand should take into consideration, especially as the activewear market has been booming in recent years, making it fundamental to provide a wider size range, to boost the brand’s competitive advantage.

On another note, Abercrombie & Fitch’s gender-inclusive collection makes up only 1% of its overall assortment, compared to Old Navy and American Eagle’s gender-inclusive collections. In contrast with Old Navy and American Eagle, the brand lacks variety, as its gender-inclusive collection is primarily made up of t-shirts. Lacking in quantity and variety gives Abercrombie a window for improvement. Allowing the brand to expand its gender-neutral assortment and include more gender-inclusive bottoms, outerwear, and dresses.

Abercrombie’s Assortment Mix - Is Denim a Driving Force in its Revamp?

Next to US competitors such as Gap, American Eagle, and Old Navy, Abercrombie & Fitch holds the most balanced gender mix, with a majority of its assortment dedicated to womenswear, as opposed to other brands. This year, Abercrombie & Fitch has decreased its menswear assortment, putting it more in line with other retailers. Abercrombie & Fitch’s assortment strategy is similar to most of its competitors, keeping a primary focus on ready-to-wear categories.

Insight from Retviews shows that the main differences in assortment strategies between Abercrombie & Fitch and key US mass-market brands are within the tops and bottoms categories. Unlike its competitors, Abercrombie & Fitch’s assortment share for bottoms is more prominent than its assortment share in tops.

Taking an in-depth look at Retviews data on US mass-market brands’ bottom assortment, Abercrombie & Fitch has the largest assortment share of jeans, which makes up a large amount of its bottoms category.

Compared to the US mass market average, the brand significantly focuses on jeans. Denim has shown to be a strong fashion trend recently, but results from a focus group showcased that Gen Z shoppers struggle to find denim sizes and styles that fit – therefore, Abercrombie’s focus on jeans pertains to its strategy of better targeting Gen Z.

Abercrombie & Fitch is responding to the underserved demand by increasing its jeans assortment share, providing more diverse styles and inclusive sizing than its competitors. Retviews indicates that Abercrombie produces more straight jeans than other US mass-market competitors such as Gap or Old Navy and fewer skinny jeans than its competitors. This insight could make Abercrombie stand out as skinny jeans have officially surpassed straight jeans in denim sales.

Finding the Right Price

Abercrombie & Fitch purposely has a higher average price compared to its competitors, as it has aimed to curate a “near-luxury” brand image, which the brand has also achieved by being known for its more premium store setting. Due to the supply chain disruptions and price inflation, Abercrombie’s margins have decreased.

Abercrombie & Fitch has raised its prices way more than its competitors. In turn, it is unable to keep demand stable. A contributing factor could be that, despite Abercrombie’s efforts, customers do not perceive the brand as offering a higher quality product that would be worth the significant price increase.

Take a look at the newest 2022 trends collected through Lectra’s Retviews and how easily it is to use AI to optimize your brand.

About Retviews:

Enhance your Rebranding Strategy with Retviews

Rebuilding a brand that has faltered in the industry shift can be simplified, and you can eliminate the guesswork of finding the right way to restructure your brand strategy thanks to automated competitive analysis for fashion. Retviews, the competitive intelligence platform for fashion, allows your brand to use real-time data intelligence to monitor competitors’ pricing, assortment, and discount strategies, detect trends in real-time and spot opportunities to optimize your assortment, in order to nail your rebranding strategy.

Optimize your Retail Strategy through AI

Do you need to revamp your brand strategy? By diving into this analysis, created using Retviews data, discover how an automated competitive analysis tool can help your brand monitor competitors’ assortment, pricing, and discount strategies, and optimize your own brand’s performance. Benefit from the data gathered with Retviews, the AI-powered fashion benchmarking platform, to elevate your brand strategy and stay on top of the competition.

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