Abercrombie and Fitch Co   (ANF)
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    Sector  Retail    Industry Retail Apparel
   Industry Retail Apparel
   Sector  Retail

Abercrombie and Fitch Co

Business Description

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (?A&F?), a company that was incorporated in Delaware in 1996, through its subsidiaries (collectively, A&F and its subsidiaries are referred to as ?Abercrombie & Fitch? or the ?Company?), is a specialty retailer that operates stores selling casual apparel, such as knit shirts, graphic t-shirts, jeans, woven shirts and personal care and other accessories for men, women and kids under the Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie, Hollister and RUEHL brands. As of February 3, 2007, the Company operated 944 stores in the United States and Canada.

The Abercrombie & Fitch brand was established in 1892 and became well known as a supplier of rugged, high-quality outdoor gear. Famous for outfitting the safaris of Teddy Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway and the expeditions of Admiral Byrd to the North and South Poles, Abercrombie & Fitch goods were renowned for their durability and dependability.

In 1992, a new management team began repositioning Abercrombie & Fitch as a fashion-oriented casual apparel business directed at 18 to 22 year-old male and female college students with a product assortment reflecting a youthful lifestyle based upon an East Coast heritage and Ivy League traditions. In reestablishing the Abercrombie & Fitch brand, the Company?s goal was to combine its historical reputation for high quality with a new emphasis on casual American style and youthfulness.

In 1998, the Company launched abercrombie, a brand directed at seven to 14 year-old boys and girls, based on the traditions of Abercrombie & Fitch.

The Company launched its next brand, Hollister, in 2000. Hollister is a West Coast oriented lifestyle brand targeted at 14 to 18 year-old high school aged guys (?dudes?) and girls (?bettys?) that embodies the laid-back California surf lifestyle.

The RUEHL brand, targeted at 22 to 35 year-old men and women, was launched in 2004. RUEHL?s product assortment is a mix of casual sportswear and trendy fashion created to appeal to the modern-minded, post-college customer. The RUEHL concept is inspired by New York City?s Greenwich Village. The store appearance is based on a Greenwich Village townhouse and conveys an aura of sophistication through its creative use of interconnected rooms, fine furniture, lighting, vintage books, photography and music.
The Company?s brands, Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie, Hollister and RUEHL, represent different American lifestyles and are targeted to appeal to the same type of customer through different stages of his or her life from elementary school through post-college. This is consistent with the Company?s belief that ?trend transcends age.?
In-store Experience and Store Operations.

The Company views the customer?s in-store experience as the primary vehicle for communicating the spirit of each brand. The Company utilizes visual presentation of merchandise, in-store marketing, music, fragrances and its sales associates to reinforce the aspirational lifestyles represented by the brands.

The Company?s in-store marketing is designed to convey the principal elements and personality of each brand. The store design, furniture, fixtures and music are all carefully planned and coordinated to create a shopping experience that reflects the Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie, Hollister or RUEHL lifestyle.

The Company?s sales associates and managers are a central element in creating the atmosphere of the stores. In addition to providing a high level of customer service, sales associates and managers reflect the casual, energetic and aspirational attitude of the brands.
Every brand displays merchandise uniformly to ensure a consistent store experience, regardless of location. Store managers receive detailed plans designating fixture and merchandise placement to ensure uniform execution of the Company-wide merchandising strategy. Standardization of each brand?s store design and merchandise presentation creates the opportunity for cost savings in store furnishings, maximizing the productivity of selling space, and enabling the Company to open new stores efficiently.

The sale of apparel and personal care products through retail stores and direct-to-consumer channels is a highly competitive business with numerous participants, including individual and chain fashion specialty stores and department stores. Brand recognition, fashion, price, service, store location, selection and quality are the principal competitive factors in retail store and direct-to-consumer sales.
The competitive challenges facing the Company include anticipating and quickly responding to changing fashion trends and maintaining the aspirational positioning of its brands so that it can sustain its premium pricing position.

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