Beautiful dreamers: Abercrombie & Fitch model what not to do in a recession

Martha C. White

Teen apparel purveyors Abercrombie & Fitch and Aeropostale have been a merchandising professor's dream case study of what to do -- and what not to do -- during a recession.

Abercrombie & Fitch dragged its feet when it came to cutting prices on its trademark tees and jeans, and teenagers responded by avoiding the retailer (scantily-clad catalog models notwithstanding).

On top of A&F's clunker of a first quarter (read about it here, if you need something to make you wince), the company announced this week that it's scuttling its Ruehl brand, a more upscale line that "defines the aspirational Greenwich Village lifestyle," as its website helpfully clarifies. Five year-old Ruehl turned out to be a bit of a problem child for A&F in this more budget-conscious climate; it lost $58 million last year and sales dropped by a whopping 33% last month.

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