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Abercrombie & Fitch Will Sell Larger Sizes After Plus-Size Controversy

11/06/2013 at 02:29 PM ET

Abercrombie & Fitch plus sizeHannes Magerstaedt/Getty

Abercrombie & Fitch (and its CEO Mike Jeffries) drew fire this summer when anti-plus size comments Jeffries made a few years ago were picked up in the press. But despite its “cool kids only” marketing strategy, the company has been suffering this year with major drops in its stock prices and in-store sales as teens abandoned the brand in droves.

And though Jeffries refused to back down from his marketing targeted “at a particular segment of customers,” Abercrombie & Fitch announced today at an analyst briefing that they would, in fact, be expanding their size range to include sizes larger than a 10 or an L, in an attempt to stem their financial bleeding.

RELATED PHOTOS: See Channing Tatum, Jennifer Lawrence and more stars as A&F models!

In a 2006 Salon interview, Jeffries defended the company’s policy of selling only certain sizes. “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he said. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids … A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

Now, according to Reuters, the brand will not only be selling a wider range of sizes and fits, but they will also be trying to expand their accessories and shoe lines to get more people in the door. They’re also closing their standalone Gilly Hicks lingerie stores and making changes to the stores of their sister brand, Hollister.

What do you think of Abercrombie & Fitch’s turnaround on the matter? Will you shop there with the expanded size range?

–Alex Apatoff

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Showing 97 comments

Miriam on

Too little, too late.

Lauren on

Ah, behold the death throes of the A&F brand.
Their plummeting stocks have nothing to do with their lack of larger sizes. They were going out of style when I was in high school 10 years ago. Frankly, I’m shocked they’ve managed to stay afloat this long.

LMarie on

I sincerely hope that the kids he excluded and offended continue to steer clear of this man’s “brand”. He makes no apologies about being exclusionary, so why should they flock to his store just because he’s being forced to sell larger clothing? Let his company continue to have a downfall in sales!

guesttttt on

I wish they would go out of business.

Kay on

I won’t forgive them that quickly. First they will need to do a lot of apologizing and make up for the exclusionary policy

Emma on

Here is what I don’t get… They don’t want your money, yet people are angry at them for not giving them options to spend their money on.

If they didn’t want to carry these sizes, than fine. That is money they aren’t getting. The disdain they have shown for people who do not fit their ideal figure makes me wonder why anyone who falls into that category would want to purchase these clothes.

Carrie M on

Nice CEO. Not. I would advise all “non cool kids” to stay the heck away!

SoNotHollywood on

When I was skinnier, I loved A&F clothes. I was a teen, it’s what was cool. Now, occasionally I will buy some things from Hollister (if I’m in the next city over that has the store) but for the most part American Eagle is more inclusive. Their sizes go to 18 for women (not sure for men) and XL. Plus, they are more wallet-friendly. In Lawrence, KS (KU) the A&F store closed not long after an American Eagle store opened. Coincidence? I’m all for being healthy and getting to a weight that is not harmful to your health, but it doesn’t happen overnight and if you’re happy at your current size, why should you be excluded from having fashionable clothes? I will still probably never shop A&F again simply because they made the dumb move in the first place. As was mentioned, too little, too late.

gigi on

This is lame. Why would anyone want to buy their products when they are so obviously negative. I wouldn’t go where I wasn’t wanted… nor where anyone I cared about wasn’t wanted. Do they really think they are going to get people in there now?

Nicole on

I still don’t understand why people were so upset about what he said but nobody is boycotting Lane Bryant. Isn’t it the same idea?

Annoyed on

Fine if they are expanding sizes to save the company but it’s BS if they’re adding large sizes bc of the backlash. I want Lane Bryant to offer a size 2…but that will never be an outcry bc those of us who can fit in a size 2 will continue working our butts of to stay that size and not whine bc not every store carries our size. If you want to buy the clothes, fit in them. If I want to wear Lane Bryant clothing, I’ll stop working out and keep eating.

Piy on

Good job to the kids for abandoning their stores! Gives me hope for this generation. :’)

mandy on

I will still boycott them regardless of what size they sell simply because of the negativity surrounding this company. I used to love their clothing until I found the reason why they did not sell larger size clothing. Everyone should have the right and ability to look good regardless of their belt size..this is a pathetic attempt to stay in business!

Sarah_TO on

As it is, the Large size sold at A&F fits like a Small in other stores.
I don’t know anyone who has shopped there in a long time.
Never mind the size issue, It’s too dark, smells too strong, and is way overpriced.

Lori on

Dear A&F,

You still suck.

like it is on

so what’s the range do tell

Zeze on

Too little too late. This brand is so dated, I don’t know anyone who still wears the stuff.

Diann on

Well, it’s a start. Now if they can turn off the loud music, lay off the scent in stores, get salespeople who know stock and fit, finish hems…. Actually my teens and I still don’t want to go in the store.

Thomas on

I would never go into an A&F store – the store is darker than a politician’s heart and the music is as loud as a rock concert. It’s amazing that the people that work there don’t go deaf, but they probably don’t last long at minimal wages anyway. They want only the “cool” customers, and that’s fine – they are welcome to them.

terivon on

No. No. No.
I wouldn’t bail out big banks that screwed the people while paying their CEO ridiculous money, I won’t bail out a clothing line which caters to their head honcho’s fat phobia. If they had a good business model to begin with, they wouldn’t be back tracking now. There are good solid companies I’ll drop cash on. This isn’t one of them.

Minn on

Annoyed- I would agree that A&F is free to cater to the sizes they wish too. However, Jeffries was very rude and insulting toward bigger people when questioned. He should have just said something about his market research pointing to size 8 or 10 or what have you and below. He was being a bully and saying if you are fat you are not cool. I think that’s mean. I myself used to shop there 6 years ago when I was in a high school, and even now but only once in a while. But I will not anymore. Even though I am a smaller girl, I do not like the way he is, and do not want to make him richer!

NotTheSameThing on

Insult an entire demographic, then come asking for their business…not a very bright move, A&F.

As for the comments about Lane Bryant not carrying smaller sizes…while it’s true that Lane Bryant caters exclusively to larger sizes, there is the rather large difference that Lane Bryant’s CEO did not publicly insult people who do not fit into their clothes and call them unworthy of their brand.

ann on

I still won’t buy from them. Any business that tries to promote and perpetuate the idea of popularity and exclusiveness is not something I want to support.

SarahB on

Way too late on that one. I wouldn’t wear those clothes if you paid me.

Deb on

I’ve always hated their stores! They’re too dark to see the color of the clothes and the scents they spray everywhere give me a headache. And I agree with other posts, too little too late, in the size changes.

tarasmom on

Trying for a new market because they are losing business. None of my daughter’s friends want to wear A and F anymore. Not for at least 4 years now.

Susanne on

I live in fashion forward Copenhagen and completely do not get this fascination with A&F. Their clothing is horrible, in my eyes it caries the stereotype of American preppy frat boy. Every time I pass past the local A&F there is a line of 14 year old school girls. I guess that is their market…. There is absolutely nothing fashionable about A&F and their pretentiousness is laughable.

Womenfly on

Hmmmm I do not hear an apology from CEO Jeffries. They are expanding their size range to “stem the bleeding” from their tanking sales. Too bad. I hope they go under. I prefer American Eagle as they are inclusive to larger sized women, and they just make a better product. A&F is done!

Kelli on

They should have fired the CEO who was responsible for their loss, and THEN tried to do damage control. The comments that man made about “cool kids” was a form of bullying, and any company that will support that, deserves to take a loss. Their clothes aren’t even that great…and are overpriced anyway.

streamin'queen on

Abercrombie can suck it! Too little, too late for this big girl!

CassM on

Don’t give in and sell larger clothing. I’m a size 2 and I don’t go into plus-size stores and complain or file a lawsuit because they don’t carry my size.

Sue on

Nicole, nobody at Lane Bryant is saying that they don’t want to cater to any other body types or that they don’t want to see skinny people in their clothes, they just saw a spot in the market and went for it. I’m sure they wouldn’t be embarrassed if you wanted to purchase their clothes then alter them to fit you (though I don’t know why you would.)

mrsmass on

Why anyone would shop there is beyond me. Congrats on being able to buy overpriced tshirts and jeans, I guess…

Crystal on

I sincerely hope that consumers continue to stay away. This company is irresponsible and have only made the concession to save a sinking ship…

marcy on

Thanks, but not thanks!!

Heather on

Awwww, the A & F “cool kids” aren’t cool anymore! Boo hoo…

jessie on

little too late, i would never shop there. what he said can’t be taking back. if i did shop there my money would be supporting ideas such as his, and instead of being part of the solution i would be the problem.

Jae on

Agree, Miriam. It’s not even that they’ve seen the light, they just need to do something before they go broke because people don’t want to shop there any more. Good that they’ll be offering larger sizes, but that doesn’t make a difference to me. They’re not doing it because they realize they were wrong, they’re doing it for money to “stem their financial bleeding.” I wouldn’t shop there.

Kim on

Too little, too late. I hope their PR is reading these. My daughter is 11 and most of her wardrobe was A&F. She now, at her own choice, will not wear any of the brand. I had to give it all to goodwill. She said she didn’t want people to know she was wearing the brand. I completely support her.

Kim on

Too late. My 11 year od daughter wore tis brand all the time. She won’t wear any of it now – had to give it all to Goodwill.
This is a brand that targets tweens and teens – and to have a message like that? Hope their PR dept is reading these. We are done with the brand.

Seabot on

I’m a plus size and I truly couldn’t care less what they sell and don’t sell. They have the right to target a market and they’re under no obligation to include EVERYONE in that market. I don’t go into Forever 21 expecting to find clothes that fit me, either. I also don’t get into Lane Bryant expecting to find close to fit my daughter, who’s 16 and a size 2.

But even I were a smaller size, I wouldn’t shop there because their clothes are about as appealing as Jeffries’ over lifted face.

Seabot on

Obviously that was supposed to say I don’t go into Lane Bryant expecting to find clothes to fit my daughter, not close.

Anna on

This makes me laugh!! Seriously he was quoted saying “He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis told Business Insider. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.” like seriously this coming from someone who has had mounds of plastic surgery so I guess he shouldn’t wear his brand either. I would still not shop there because the only reason he is truly given in is because his targeted market left his butt because of his lack of respect for other people. His clothing is a dying bred and I hope it continues to fall.

bebe on

OMG!! TOOOO F****n LATE!!!! Get over yourself, nobody wants to wear your lame clothes anyway! Look at your models…..lame!

Nona on

No store is obligated to manufacture and sell certain sizes of clothing. Our society is filled with people who are far too easily offended and cry over the least little thing. If you don’t like A&F, you are certainly free to shop elsewhere.

noname4me on

Not everybody belongs in our clothes? what an ass, doesn’t sound like somebody that I would want to give my money too!!!

mommy2eandl on

I still won’t buy from them. Don’t care to support this man’s child habit…..

Katie on

For me, they went out of style over 10 years ago. Why pay $100 for a shirt or jeans that look the same as many other stores but for way less? The name Abercrombie&Fitch means nothing in today’s society. I’ll spend my money in other stores.

Diane Troxell on

Ah, so now that Chapter 13 is looming, they will accept the “uncool” people’s money. Boycott them!

Joey on

Gotta love people. They moan and complain about how they don’t carry plus sizes, and when they announce they will, the same people moan and whine about how they are starting to carry plus sizes. Make up your mind, people.

Mandy876 on

Nope.

Shallyn on

Still won’t shop there.

Christina on

no thanks

Lilyflower on

Too late.

Suzanne on

I have never nor would I ever shop this store. The CEO should have been fired!

Paula on

Hope they sink!

Susan on

20 years ago A&F sold beautiful, well made clothes that fit many sizes; soft t-shirts and flannels that lasted for years. I don’t know when it became what it is today.

Kristi on

We hate your fat butts but now buy our over priced, low quality garbage. I say eat dirt.

LPP on

Looks like the beginning of the end for A & F. Never shopped there anyway and my kids surely won’t. We’ll be at AE.

Beth on

This is not about a store catering to smaller sizes – any store should have that right. This is about the fact that he branded larger people as ‘uncool’ and made other hurtful remarks. I didn’t like shopping there as a teen and I still don’t. I hope they go out of business.

Lisa on

@Nicole. Seriously?? Its not about the sizes. The scorn and disgust A&F feels for the so-called “not so cool” was the basis for their brand. Lane Bryant isn’t about cool or not cool–its about giving plus sized women more fashionable options than what’s usually available to them. If A&F chose to carry the smaller sizes without the snide, “I’m better than you” attitude, folks might not have had such a negative reaction to them.

Marilyn on

After their employee told me that I was “too fat” to wear their clothes at the age of 14 (I am 20 now) I wouldn’t shop there for all of King Midas’ silver no matter what changes they made.

Lisa on

@CassM–Its not about the sizes, its about the attitude. If they had remained successful, they would not be expanding their size offerings. Its not giving in–they are trying to save their butt. I hope they fail!

Lisa on

What is it about being plus size that brings out such hate in people? I truly do not understand this.

Andrea on

A&F has the right to gear their clothing to whatever group they’d like. So does Lane Bryant (like seen in previous comments) I don’t believe thay they lost business because they said they don’t cater to heavier. It was the WAY he said it. There are definitely tactful ways to convey what he/A&F believed and what he said was not tactful in any way. That, in my opinion, is the reason they lost business.

Olive on

I’ve never shopped at that place. Even in high school 12 years ago. Hated what they stood for even way back then. I hope they go out of business. How much is it there for a t-shirt these days? $40??

MrMonkee on

As an overweight man and a father I went in to a A&F store last Christmas to buy some gifts for my teenage daughters. They had given me a list with specific items that were in the store. I could not for the life of me get ANYONE to wait on me and help me find the items I needed to find. I finally gave up and walked out.I ended up at another store on my daughters list and bought everything they asked for which totaled over $600. A&F will never see a $$$ of my money ever again.

pixyprincess on

Why do they have a bunch of dudes wearing girls jeans?

guest on

Ditto Miriam! This comes on the heels of a report that says 70% of people in this country are over their stock sizes. He deserves to go under for his arrogant retailing style…

Sandy on

I thought A&F was irrelevant a long time ago. I wouldn’t buy anything they sell. “Decent human being” beats “cool” any day.

guest on

Eew. Seriously hope this company goes out of business. From the way they exclude the “not-so-cool” kids to the way they sexually subject the “cool kids” in their catalogues. Hate every. single. thing about this company.

annoyed at annoyed on

Hey annoyed…… I can exercise until i’m blue in the face and I won’t get skinnier then a 14. I eat healthy and I exercise at a good amount. Why shouldn’t I be able to shop where you do? But go ahead and complain about being skinny. When it comes down to it, many prefer a bit of meat than hugging a bunch of bones

Phillippa Gordon on

Ah, once again, the non-cool kids of the world win! Shut ‘em down!!!

rach on

Regardless of the fact that the CEO is obviously a real winner, A&F’s clothes are priced incredibly high and they’re made so cheaply it’s ridiculous. No, thank you, Mr. Jeffries. And I would fit in your clothes.

Pat on

Lane Bryant isn’t exclusionary per se, they exist because other stores are exclusionary. The reason AF is having trouble is because the people who do shop there took a stand. The ones who could never shop there, including me, a size 14, did not cost them money because they never had our money so it is good to see that people did stand up. Thank you. Hope the same happens with Barney’s. we’re watching you JayZ.

apple pie on

we are done with them. Now is all Free People, Zara and American eagle for my kids 14-11.

My daughter did not want their clothes since the CEo made those remarks because some of her friends were offended.

Heather on

Too little, too late!

francablog on

If Jeffries can be the big mouth and say those things about being exclusionary, then I want to hear that big mouth apologize and say he was wrong.

Mom of 3 on

The brand is old and not the “in” thing anymore. My son is 13 and no longer interested in the clothes. After the CEO’s comments, we put his A&F clothes out at a garage sale for dirt cheap…and they still didn’t sell.

TT on

You’ll never get my business.

Mrs. C. on

Too little too late. I hope this is the beginning of a bankrupt end for A&F!

Jeremy on

What exactly is your definition of a “cool” kid? In my mind, as it should be with everyone else in this world, a “cool” kid doesn’t come in a certain size, shape, colour or background. A “cool” kid is someone that everyone can look up to preferably in a good way. I’m a grown up now, but when I was in grade school some kids considered me a “cool” kid. And it had nothing to do with my size, looks or background. I was at a loss myself until one friend told me the reason. She said it was because I was friends with everyone! I didn’t have a bias or preference in who I hung out with or who I let hang out with me. That’s what kids need to do today. Embrace everyone equally. So A&F stop acting like a marketing bully by posting obnoxious and hurtful comments about a persons’ size. And remember.. even the “cool” kids go through insecurities like we all do. How about showing some more support instead of dividing people. Just a thought.

Reye on

Yeah good luck with that, A&F. Maybe next time your CEO wants to open his trap, he should think about just how many kids get bullied nowadays by people with his line of thinking. I hope this company tanks.

Mike on

Don’t persecute people for being sexy. If you’re unattractive, don’t shop at A&F. It’s as simple as that.

MrsJAZ on

I wouldn’t wear their clothes if they were free. Unforgiveable company.

ana on

@Emma: Very well said! I completely agree with you.

chairman on

For those who rag on LB, not everyone sells attractive, well fitting clothes for the bigger woman. I wear a 12 and can’t fit their clothing, but purchase my bras there. How is it cool that the majority of women in America are an average of size 14 a TINY TEN is supposed to fit my very curvy body? Clothing isn’t made for a woman who’s curvy, just someone who’s straight up and down. Bigger women DESERVE somewhere they can go and not be judged or given side eye!

lmrozela on

Having always been a taller, larger-sized woman, I can say (with pride) that I have never worn the clothes this company sells, nor have I wanted to. When I have been by their stores, I can’t get past the stench of whatever scent they douse their clothes with to actually get inside. I’m not willing to make myself sick, and this company any richer, by buying their clothes that I wouldn’t use to wash my car with.

Deb Perry on

You may be exclusionary with your brand, I will be exclusionary with my dollars.

Mandy on

To those commenting about Lane Bryant and saying its the same thing because they only offer plus size clothing. In my opinion, It was never a matter against A&F because they didn’t offer larger clothing. The real controvery was the fact that they said a person of larger size was not deemed as cool or desirable. I don’t think anyone really cared so to speak about the sizes they offered or didn’t. Just my 2 cents :-)

Haley on

Honestly if you’re offended by them not selling bigger sizes, maybe you should lose weight and quit complaining. Those who can fit into smaller sizes don’t go and complain about stores that only sell to those who are larger. And who cares if it’s meant for ‘popular’ kids, maybe you all should get over it and grow up.

Regina on

I absolutely would NEVER purchase any items from this so called company. What a disgrace!!!! Are they that ignorant to realize that the “not so cool kids’ usually turn out to be more successful and the ‘cool kids’ end up flipping burgers somewhere!!!

Gisella on

I would rather go without any clothes at all than to ever wear their ugly clothing. Its ugly on the outside as well as the inside.

Never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever.

J on

I hope they go bankrupt!!!!!!!!!

Chris on

This news is actually disappointing to me. I love the A&F brand and everything it stands for. My question is: To all of the A&F haters out there…why do you care so much to change the A&F brand and rebel against them? If you do not like A&F (for any reason) or cannot fit into their clothes then simply do not shop at A&F. But why spend so much time and effort hating them for being exclusionary? Simply move on. Should Ivy League schools let anybody who applies through their doors just because the applicants reeeeeeeeally want to attend? No. Should the Mercedes brand lower their prices so lower income individuals may own a Mercedes, too? No. Many facets of life are exclusionary. It’s exciting, it’s interesting and it’s fun. It is a status symbol. Their is nothing wrong with anything that I have just mentioned. Many of you think the A&F brand may be “evil” (so to speak). I disagree. I simply feel (this is just my own speculation) that A&F wants to cater to their target audience. I don’t believe they “hate fat people”…or anyone else who doesn’t fit their target audience. They are not out to bully you or degrade you. After all, they are out to sell clothes. I believe they simply are targeting the young, all-American male/female, laid back, athletic, non-synical college student. The brand exudes a sexy, confident attitude represented by their marketing campaigns. I love the “muscle fit” clothing! They have recently been more “fashion forward” in my opinion, but let’s keep in mind A&F will always have a “classic” feel and image. If someone thinks A&F is not “stylish”, they may not understand Abercrombie. It seems to me that Mike Jeffries now feels that some of his comments about the brands non-target audience in the past may have been harsh, and has apologized. That should be enough. I certainly wasn’t offended by his comments and feel that he spoke up, and spoke well. However, it’s best to keep peace with all men if possible. Change is unavoidable, “you change either to stay ahead or to catch up”. I hope A&F stays true to their roots along with any changes they face. Good luck to Abercrombie on all of their future endeavors.

Dana on

I am not annoyed that they don’t carry larger sizes, I’m 5ft11 and plus size. What most people are annoyed and have disdain for is his very public and bold statement: that if you are bigger, you are some how less cool or popular. A & F can cater to whoever they want to. Just show class and respect of other human beings.

Lane Bryant starts at 14w (some 12s) and goes up to 28w. They do this because most stores choose to cater to 14 and under. Someone finally understood that just because we aren’t a size 2,that we don’t want giant moomoos or plain & ugly clothes. Not all of us are built to wear A & F, that’s fine.Despite what Mr. Jeffries said, there is beauty in being unique. We are all beautiful, no matter who we are or what size we wear. Beauty is more than just a pretty face/body. When you show respect and kindness to others an inward beauty that shines brighter than a pretty face is shown.

Laboos on

People need to stop complaining and boycotting. Everybody does have the right to look good, if you want to look good than go buy clothes from somewhere else. Why is obesity rate so high in America compared to asian countries because the clothing companies have to cater to the peoples growing sizes where as in Asia , if you can’t fit this, too bad go work out because nothing goes over a size M. It is mean to say big people are not cool but like stop , if you want to fit into their clothes than you have to work for it. STOp finding excuses and be angry at the company because most people are to lazy to get up and work their butt off to look better. I wasn’t skinny but I got this way because I work my butt off and did not complain

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