The 4 worst-performing apparel retailers in the industry

How JCPenney CEO Ellison Plans to Turn Company Around
How JCPenney CEO Ellison Plans to Turn Company Around

Several retailers are floundering.

Morgan Stanley recently ranked retailers based on performance.

Morgan Stanley considered eleven factors and took them into account for over the past decade.

High-performing retailers were protected from what Morgan Stanley called the "Amazon threat" and demonstrated comparable sales growth. These struggling retailers are ostensibly not invincible from the imminent rise of Amazon and have demonstrated poor sales growth over the past ten years.

Many of these retailers are in transition phases now, working to undo the past.

Here are the four bottom-ranking stores.

Abercrombie & Fitch

Abercrombie & Fitch is finally coming back from the grave. It posted its first positive overall quarter since 2012. The retailer has been working to rebrand itself by switching up styles and toning down its formerly sexual marketing campaigns, but the retailer still has its history embedded into it — and years of poor sales behind it.


JCPenney's CEO Marvin Ellison has been working to turn around the department store. The company has been seeing progress, but it still has its Ron Johnson years behind it. In fact, at the Women's Wear Daily Apparel & Retail CEO Summit in New York City in October, Ellison highlighted how during Johnson's time as CEO, JCPenney abandoned its target customer — the mid-tier customer.


Kohl's has been working to improve itself with what the brand has been calling Greatness Agenda. Carter Harrison of consulting firm Conlumino highlighted that the retailer "remains a company in transition." Harrison notes that because of this transitory phase, "the upcoming fiscal year will be one of mixed progress rather than consistent gains and uplifts."


"Forty-year-old women are not dressing in the sort of frumpy way that their mothers dressed," said Liz Dunn, CEO of consulting firm Talmage Advisors, told Bloomberglast year. "There's a lot more interest in looking youthful. It's a lot harder for Ann Taylor and Chico's to compete."

And don't forget the millennial curse. Dunn also told Bloomberg that stores, such as Chico's, that targeted professional women have not managed to captivate younger audiences.

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Originally published