abercrombie tries to keep its shirt on as sales slacken
Last Christmas, the teenage retailer insisted it would survive the recession without adopting universal prices --slashing.
And then twice as many months.
As shoppers turn to competitors selling similar clothing at more affordable prices, sales are down and store traffic is down.
Industry experts want to know if the company is risking its business while maintaining its brand image.
At the same time, Abercrombie has been criticized for missing some fashion trends, for example, waiting too long to provide casual clothing and relying too much on its graphic T-shirts.
\"To be fair, they have lost a lot of customers,\" said Howard Tubin, retail analyst at RBC Capital Markets . \".
May crombie admits it underestimates the financial pressure on consumers.
Since then, sexy retailers have been trainedand-
Fashion Image of welcoming staff through a no-shirt shop (male)
And advertisements featuring models exposed to clothing (Male and female)
Has been quietly lowering prices and placing more items on the clearance shelf.
\"Our experience is that we are in a very difficult economic era where prices are more important to us than ever, during which time, we are using this strategy to drive traffic, \"Abercrombie Chief Executive Mike Jeffries said in a conference call with analysts on Friday.
But shoppers said they didn\'t notice the change.
In Glendale Square this week, 12-year-old Lindsay ochinello and his daughter, mckoalas, came back --to-
Shopping at the school in Abercrombie, almost everything is full price.
Unlike nearby competitors American Eagle Outfitters and Aeropostale, Abercrombie has no sales sign or special offer, and its clearance items are at the back.
The two were soon empty. handed. \"Ridiculous --
$60 for a pair of shorts?
It\'s not even a designer brand, \"said Ochinero, a medical and legal transcription officer from Fresno.
\"They are destroying themselves.
What makes them so unique in the most desperate times?
Despite Abercrombie\'s efforts to lower prices, the average unit retail price in the second quarter fell by only 5% year on year. -
\"It\'s not enough to get the customer noticed or excited,\" RBC\'s Tubin said . \".
\"Further action is needed.
Executives at Abercrombie said they had never promised a big discount.
Eric Cerney, investor relations manager, said that while the company is more focused on the consumer\'s budget, it still needs to maintain its position, especially when it wants to expand in the international arena.
\"If we go in and do a short one
In this way, we end up doing damage to long-term sales.
\"The brand\'s long term expectation appeal,\" Cerny said in an interview . \".
\"We know that price is an integral part, but it will not be an integral part that drives our model.
\"Instead, the company is dealing gently with the recession from a price perspective and actively responding from a fashion perspective.
After many styles missed the logo last year, Abercrombie struggled to correct its merchandise mix by pushing new fashions to the front desk and center, which is different from the usual fashion --but-simple apparel.
The brand has begun to offer more clothing and printed tops for women and has reduced logo T-
Shirts, which performed worst in the second quarter ended August. 1.
Christine Chen, retail analyst at Needham & Co. , said the fresh products helped attract customers back to the store, and several items, including plaid shirts and casual clothes, were sold well.
\"The price points definitely hurt them, but I don\'t think last year there was a lot of fashion novelty offered by Abercrombie, which in particular exacerbated the situation,\" she said . \".
\"Now, they actually offer fashion and lower fares in some key categories.
I realized that their sales figures did not reflect that, but it was not done overnight.
The company has about 350 stores of the same name nationwide and is the parent company of other brands including Hollister Co. --
Reported net loss of $26.
Sales in the second quarter were 7 million, and said sales in stores that opened for at least one year fell 30% from the same period last year. In the year-
In the first quarter, retailers reported a profit of $77. 8 million.
On June, the company said it would close
Due to the recession and its negative impact on chain businesses, the grad \"Ruehl division.
Executives said Abercrombie will continue to adjust the structure of the goods and reduce costs.
They also suggested that the company might close some poorly performing stores when the lease expires.
Although Abercrombie is one of the worst performing brands in the youth industry this year, it is still considered an elite youth brand and it hasn\'t been long
Regular debt, Chen said.
This makes it more resistant to the economic downturn than many.
\"Once the economy gets better, as long as Abercrombie continues to provide good service,
\"From the perspective of high quality products, it is not difficult for customers to pay the full price,\" she said . \".
\"The brand is not dead.
\"Brands that dominate the mall market during the economic crisis will not rebound either because discounts\" train customers to wait for sales, \"she said \".
But consumers say Abercrombie should give loyal customers a break when even luxury chains are on sale.
Johnny Hernández, 23, said he prefers Abercrombie, not other brands, but he has recently barely been able to afford to shop at this fashion retailer due to tight budget.
At Glendale Square this week, herndez first went to abercombe to buy a polo shirt, but ended up buying two pieces from Aeropostale, who holds the right to buy --one-get-one-
Free deals for a total of $24. 50.
In Abercrombie, a complete
The price tag for Polo is $60.
\"Due to the price, I have been shopping more recently in Aeropostale than in Abercrombie,\" he said . \".
Narine Malkhasyan, 25, said she would be \"very sure\" to shop in Abercrombie, where she will be buying $50 sweat pants this week and if the price is lower, shop
\"I can\'t understand this,\" berbanke residents said of the company\'s pricing strategy . \".
\"Selling is always a good thing. \"--andrea. chang@latimes.