Abercrombie's Got Its Own Image Situation
Talk about the pot calling the be-sixpacked kettle black. For "distressing" behavior, Abercrombie need only look in the three-way mirror:
- The retailer previously got into hot water for allegedly rating employees' faces. Those who scored lower on the numerical "hotness" scale were supposedly booted from the sales floor.
- It's also had to settle racial and sex discrimination cases in the past. Its settlement included unusual stipulations, such as ending its focus on recruiting workers from white fraternities and sororities.
- One of Abercrombie's campaigns used photos of naked models in a "magalog" that pushed the line between "sex sells" marketing and what many considered to be soft pornography.
- Selling thong underwear for preteens, and peddling T-shirts for young women with slogans like, "Who Needs Brains When You Have These?" doesn't exactly scream "aspirational brand."
- At least The Situation is in the age-appropriate demographic to wear Abercrombie garb. Salon's Benoit Denizet-Lewis described Abercrombie's CEO Mike Jeffries as a 61-year-old in flip-flops who said "dude" a lot, dyed his hair blond, and wore an Abercrombie muscle polo to the interview.
- Abercrombie actually has a history of giving people lots of money not to do things. It previously paid Jeffries $4 million to refrain from flying the corporate jet so much. Shareholders should really question how this company throws its money around.
Motley Fool analyst Alyce Lomax owns shares of Urban Outfitters.