Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2013 04:43 PM
Sometimes it seems like almost no one likes Abercrombie & Fitch anymore, and the chain's sliding sales and brand equity reflect that. Now there's an important someone who doesn't like Abercrombie CEO Michael Jeffries either.
Activist investor Engaged Capital has just asked the Abercrombie board to start looking for a replacement for the embattled Jeffries, whose employment contract expires Feb. 1, according to the Wall Street Journal. The fund also suggested that maybe the Abercrombie board might want to go ahead and sell the company to a private-equity buyer as "the best option for shareholders."
The new pressure comes at a difficult time for Abercrombie & Fitch, which may finally be jumping the shark. It posted nearly $12 million in losses for the nine months of 2013, with sales down more than 7 percent. And it's facing a hostile environment this holiday shopping season with such a heavily promotional edge to most apparel retailing.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 15, 2013 03:42 PM
Swedish retail giant Hennes & Mauritz is gunning for its “coolly-minimal younger sibling,” COS, to make big a splash in the US market after building up quite a fanbase in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The brand will make its debut in the spring, joining fast-fashion phenom H&M.
But the higher-priced, more artsy brand has no intention of settling for second place. According to H&M's head of business, Marie Honda, the high-fashion brand has the potential to be huge. After testing the waters earlier this month with a NYC pop-up shop at Opening Ceremony, the upscale, minimalist and cosmopolitan COS brand will target US ities "that have an international feel," Honda told Women's Wear Daily.
Come spring 2014, the brand plans to launch US e-commerce and open its first store in April in NYC's Soho neighborhood.
It’s a strategic shift for H&M, which launched in the US market as a trendy and cheaper alternative to Gap, Zara and Forever 21, and for whom American stores deliver the most revenue after Germany.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 7, 2013 02:57 PM
And so the saga of out-of-touch retailers continues.
After a rousing few months of PR lows, teen outfitter Abercrombie & Fitch and yogi cult clothier Lululemon still have some gas in their engines. The purveyor of $90 stretch pants has largely recovered from its March "sheer pants" issue, with sales—and poor judgment—back at normal levels. A&F, however, has had a rougher go at it since the brand was thrust into the spotlight in May over some ill-advised comments from CEO Mike Jeffries that brought to light the brand's 'cool kids only' culture.
The consumer outcry over Jeffries' old comments—"A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."—only added wood to the fire that was A&F's falling sales. The company netted its seventh quarterly consecutive loss in same-store sales this week, resulting in an overall 30 percent devaluation in 2013. And after months of trying to put a band-aid on the brand damage, A&F announced that it will begin stocking more styles and larger sizes of its women's tops by spring and even start selling shoes and accessories in a bid to woo back teens that have defected to trendier retailers like H&M and Forever 21.
In an age where inclusiveness is the key, A&F's preference for the “all-American kid(s) with a great attitude and a lot of friends," could be called downright archaic. Outright ignoring the flourishing plus-size industry, the retailer previously only carried up to a size large for its women's clothing, while rival American Eagle, as well as H&M and Forever 21 produce XL and plus-size lines.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 1, 2013 03:47 PM
Lululemon Athletica is becoming quite the newsmaker. Since the yoga apparel brand made headlines back in March after pulling its proprietary 'luon' yoga pants off shelves due to "sheerness," the company can't seem to stay out of the limelight.
After ousting its chief product officer, losing its CEO and being berated by disappointed customers, the brand is now under fire again for an offense that has become a common topic among today's clothing giants. In an article by The Huffington Post, former Lululemon employees accused the brand of purposely shunning plus-size customers, relegating larger-sized apparel to a "heap" in the backs of stores.
While most of the merchandise was displayed "out on the floor, hung on the walls, or folded neatly in cabinets," larger sizes, such as 10s and 12s, were not stocked on those same shelves, and were rarely offered in the latest styles and prints. "All the other merchandise in the store was kind of sacred, but these were thrown in a heap," former employee Elizabeth Licorish told HuffPost. "It was definitely discriminatory to those who wear larger sizes."Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on July 25, 2013 12:46 PM
As global retailers find a tightening competitive environment in the US and Europe, many are in search of emerging and middle-of-the-road markets to extend their brand. China has been fertile ground for the past few years, as evidenced by the growth of Western auto sales. But the next wide open opportunity for Western brands may be India, a market with a $500 billion retail potential.
The second most-populous country in the world won't be the easiest market to win over, however. For one thing, India boasts its own cadre of domestic brands in various categories. Already accepted by Indian consumers, some of these brands are positioned to effectively compete with multinational rivals, especially across food, beverage and auto.
Of even greater significance, though, is a regulatory environment in India that, until recently, made it very difficult for companies not based in India to penetrate the market. That may be changing.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 21, 2013 12:54 PM
Fortunately, the issues brought to light by the recent horrors in Bangladesh are not disappearing from the headlines. Unfortunately, those who are culpable are not acting swiftly enough.
What little consensus has emerged from the rubble of a collapsed eight-story factory, which claimed over 1,120 lives, underscores the fact that public-private collaboration is vital to enact the sweeping reforms required for real change rather than corporate social responsibility campaigns. Major retailers including Walmart, Gap, JCPenney and Sears have yet to sign the proposed fire and safety agreements, while Walmart, like the wolf guarding the hen house, said it will monitor its 300-plus Bangladeshi suppliers itself. However, H&M, along with 30 other international retailers committed to the $3 billion fund to improve the safety of garment factories in Bangladesh.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Abe Sauer on March 21, 2013 11:37 AM
A sarcastic joke about diarrhea might be one of the first things one would think upon seeing the Twitter hashtag #thankschipotle.
But no, #thankschipotle was a reaction to the food chain's decision to drop sponsorship of a Utah Boy Scout event due to the organizations stand against gay equality. It seems Chipotle's newest offering is a jumbo sized social conscience, a menu item many are finding deliciously timely. The move also has some lessons for other brands as remaining neutral on gay rights increasingly becomes a non option.
It's true that Chipotle did not exactly come up with this cancelation on its own but instead was more or less shamed into action by progressive activists at Think Progress. On March 19, Think Progress called out Chipotle for violating its own nondiscrimination policy. A day later, Chipotle's desire to stomach a potential backlash led by activists diminished significantly. It announced that it would terminate its sponsorship. It emailed Think Progress, saying, in part, that the brand "believed that terminating the sponsorship and remaining consistent with our policy was the right thing to do."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 23, 2011 08:55 AM
Gap, J.Crew and other retailers slash prices, as stores try to thwart price apps, and tweak websites to spur sales.
A&W is sold by Yum! Brands to A Great American Brand.
Absolut celebrates 30 years of gay ads.
Adidas pursues church for trademark infringement; church asks Derrick Rose to intercede.
Akamai purchases cloud rival.
Apple isn't expected to produce a smaller iPad, although fuel-cell MacBooks are rumored. Apple's online sales also exceed Walmart.com results.
AT&T's $1.93 billion deal for Qualcomm's airwaves approved.
Bebe expands with wedding collection.
Best Buy criticized for not fulfilling some holiday online orders.
BT's long-running family campaign in the UK ends its run.
Burberry, Forever 21 and Zara score on Facebook.Continue reading...