Wednesday 20 September 2017

Struggling Abercrombie slashes jobs

The 'naked torso boy' giant poster outside the store in Dublin's College Green. Photo: Collins
The 'naked torso boy' giant poster outside the store in Dublin's College Green. Photo: Collins

Lindsey Rupp and Nick Turner

Abercrombie & Fitch, facing sluggish shopping mall traffic and a shift to fast-fashion brands, is eliminating about 150 corporate jobs after years of struggling to turn around the chain.

The cutbacks are meant to "ensure we are structured appropriately for the current retail environment," the Ohio-based company said in a statement. The reductions would represent just 3pc of the 5,000 jobs Abercrombie had last year, though most of those positions are at stores, not the corporate level.

Abercrombie, once a hot destination for teen and 20-something shoppers, joins a parade of retailers making changes in the wake of a challenging Christmas season.

Macy's and Sears are closing stores, and The Limited - another former shopping-mall star - said this month it would shutter all its stores and file for bankruptcy.

Hollister, Abercrombie's more youth-focused division, is also revamping its Gilly Hicks brand in a bid to attract shoppers.

The intimate-apparel line, which includes bras, underwear, swimsuits and pyjamas, will be touted at in-store boutiques.

Abercrombie's shares plunged in November after earnings came in well short of analysts' estimates, a sign that efforts to recapture its allure haven't gained traction.

Another possible concern for investors is that the company still lacks a permanent chief executive, more than two years since longtime CEO Mike Jeffries stepped down in late 2014.

Abercrombie & Fitch stock declined 56pc in 2016.

Bloomberg

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