The financial situation is pretty bleak over at Abercrombie & Fitch, the casual wear retailer notable for its excessively expensive clothes and hyper-sexualized, basically nude models.
Sales are down. The company’s stock price is just barely over $34 per share, down from a high of around $80 as recently as 2011.
Still, The Daily Caller had no idea things had gotten so bad that the self-described purveyors of “iconic collegiate style” and “cool, casual” clothing will now start selling tops for plus-size curvy women.
This massive change to the racks at Abercrombie’s dark, almost moody stores will start in the spring, reports USA Today.
A&F will also try its hand at selling shoes.
While fashion is nothing if not fickle, USA Today’s women on the street are pessimistic about the appeal to a wider audience.
For example, Doreen Burdalski, a professor in the fashion department at Albright College in Reading, Penn., criticized the company for limiting itself to skinny customers for too long.
“There’s been a trend moving away from just advertising skinny people,” Burdalski told USA Today. “The average size of a woman in the U.S. is a 12 now. I think Abercrombie was very slow in recognizing that the market was changing.”
It’s not clear if the average American female ballooned to a size 12 at the rate A&F stock has tanked. At any rate, Patsy Pierce, a student at Murray State University, agreed.
“With as much criticism as the company has received after the CEO stating he didn’t want bigger people wearing his clothes,” Pierce told the paper. “I highly doubt starting to sell larger tops is going to help the company’s profits.”
Pierce is referring to a notorious Salon story from 2006 in which Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries explained the company’s branding strategy in the most snobbishly offensive way possible.
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” Jeffries told Salon. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive, all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends.”
He said that “a lot of people don’t belong” in his company’s clothes and “they can’t belong” in them.
“Are we exclusionary? Absolutely,” Jeffries bragged when his company was riding high. “Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”