Yesterday brought the sad (?) news that tween fashion megabrand Abercrombie & Fitch will close it's offshoot retailer Ruehl by the end of the year. The Ruehl No. 925 collection, which offers apparel and accessories in A&F's signature preppy style, suffered pretax losses of $58 million last year. When A&F's stocks also began to plunge at the end of last year, the company finally decided to lower prices across the board, but it's negligence to respond to the market has now resulted in the eventual closing of the Ruehl store.
Competitive brands like American Eagle began discounting long before A&F—known for it's overpriced junior wear and racy ads depicting chiseled,mostly nude minors—and have emerged relatively unscathed. But at the risk of looking cheap, Abercrombie refused to succumb to the lower price trend months ago and even opened up a superfluous children's store in New York which was referred to by New York Magazine as, "one of the most unnecessary new stores in the history of Fifth Avenue."
All of these unwise business decisions made by the company's reps are beginning to come back to the A&F brand threefold. In addition to the plans to close Ruehl it has been reported that lawsuits have been filed by employees who claim they were discriminated against, including a British woman with a prosthetic arm who was, she says, forced to work in the stockroom for not fitting in with the store's image. In the past decade or so that the brand has been enjoying popularity, multiple reports have surfaced that indicate their were similar prejudices in the hiring and employment processes. At one point it was suspected that some of the company's stores even kept an 'Ugly File' where applications of candidates deemed too unattractive were stashed. It all kinda makes you wonder if these new developments for the A&F brand aren't long overdue.
Article and Photo Source: newyorkmag