Abercrombie & Fitch
Last Updated on February 6, 2020
Abercrombie & Fitch was founded in 1892 in the Manhattan borough of New York City by David Abercrombie. Known at that time as Ambercrombie & Co., the store catered to those who loved the outdoors, carrying high-quality camping, fishing, and hunting gear.
In 1900, Ezra Fitch partnered with David Abercrombie and in 1904, the business was incorporated and renamed to Abercrombie & Fitch. In 1907, Fitch bought Abercrombie’s share of the business, making him the sole proprietor until he retired in 1928 and sold it to James S. Cobb. Today, there are 209 Abercrombie & Fitch U.S. store locations.
The store dressed many noteworthy Americans,
such as President Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy,
Charles Lindbergh, Ernest Hemmingway and Amelia Earhart.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Abercrombie & Fitch opened stores across the United States. In the 1970s, faced with cash flow problems, they declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and were forced to close the Madison Avenue flagship store.
At one time, Abercrombie & Fitch held an extensive collection of high-priced merchandise such as an $18,000 ($80,000 in 2018) gold and onyx chess set.
In 1978, Oshman’s Sporting Goods, owned by Jake Oshman, bought the Abercrombie & Fitch name for $1.5 million ($5.9 million in 2017 dollars). Oshman’s reopened the company as a mail-order retailer and established new shops in Beverly Hills, Dallas, and New York City.
Oshman’s sold the company name and operations in 1988 to clothing chain retailer, The Limited.
Abercrombie & Fitch went public in 1996
on the New York Stock Exchange. Two years later, Abercrombie Kids was launched.
In 2005, Abercrombie & Fitch opened the doors to its first flagship store, located on 5th Avenue in New York City.
By 2015, competition from retailers like Forever 21 and H&M, prompted the company to change its image. The over-sexualized advertising was replaced with a more conservative style. Employees were no longer referred to as “models,” but rather, as “brand representatives.” With a focus on good customer service and promotion of diversity among store employees and executives, the company was well on its way to creating a brand new image.
2017: Abercrombie & Fitch celebrates its 125th anniversary.
In 2018, Abercrombie & Fitch exceeded $1 billion in annual digital sales for the first time in the company’s history.
Communications and Marketing
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