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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Guest Voices! | Abercrombie & Fitch Promotional Sales and Clearances...



GUEST
PETER

FROM
ENGLAND, UK

DISCUSSING
AMERICAN MARKET SALES



Now as most of you may know financial results for Abercrombie & Fitch in the US haven't been anything to shout about – what with sales across all brands down, and comments from Mike Jeffries coming back to haunt him and the brand. Mike's 2000s comments that he would sooner destroy clothes rather than having the wrong type of people wearing the brand resurfaced and sparked celebrity backlash with the likes of Ellen Degeneres bashing A&F over its decision to drop size 12 jeans for women. Based on what I have experienced this past week or so, Mike might need furthermore to start up a mass bonfire as the amount of clearance merchandise cluttering up A&F stores across Florida makes the brand seem more like a bargain basement rather than a near-luxury casualwear brand.

Now I like a bargin like the next person, but in all my years of shopping at the brand I have never found it harder to pay full price for an item of clothing than I have now. And this led me to think: why clutter up the stores with so much reduced merchandise? I mean, if you pop into the back room of an A&F store they look like a grenade has gone off!! You really need to have the perseverance of a saint or a lot of time on your hands to sort, as a customer, through the endless piles of jeans and tees. And why aren't the associates ("models") trying to make it easier for us customers to buy items by actually sorting out the sizes instead of standing around looking pretty! Good thing I don't run a store as I'd know what my associates would be doing - helping to shift the endless piles of reduced merchandise!

So what to do, what to do? Well if it was me, A&F need to open more outlets to allow them to shift more of their reduced items out of stores and into the right arena where customers expect to find bargains as currently the amount of clearance merchandise cheapens the look and feel of the stores.

Secondly, if you can't sell it at full retail, why not lower the retail price in the first place! Can't quite see this happening, but if a woman's tee can be reduced from $38 down to $9 then surely a price point could be reached somewhere in the middle?

Thirdly, too many offers makes it confusing for the customers. At the time of me writing this in the US, all clearance was between 40-70% off; jeans 50-60% off; if you spend over $100 you get 25% off; all denim shirts at $39; sweatpants for $39; puffer jackets 50% off...I could go on and on and on! But I'm not finished: in certain stores, they even give you a voucher for 25% off! Did I pay full price for a single item that I purchased on this trip? Hell no!!

Among the storm of promotions rolled out recently...


















Free shipping at the Club has even been dropped to US$75.


Fourth, the person who gives final approval for some of the designs has a lot to answer for! But I'm sure we have all gone into stores and thought they are never going to sale those not-even-reduced, garish coloured twill shirts, anyone? Or racks and racks of men's tank tops!

And if all else fails Mike, could just get the BBQs going because he is going to need to pull some all nighters to shift what's left in this season's clearance.

All that's left for me to say for now is that if you are planning a vacation to the USA and intend to shop at A&F, then don't even think about paying for the over priced pieces we all pay outside North America...it's a discounts circus here and chances are you won't have to pay full price – unless you want to – when you shop on your vacation. But spare a thought when you are bagging a bargain: does a store rammed full of reduced items still give off that "aspirational" "casual luxury" feel? I'll leave that for you to decide.

Peter