Despite CEO Mike Jeffries' comments against anyone who isn't thin, "attractive" and "cool" shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch, the popular mall retail brand has recently announced plans to launch a plus-size line, Reuters reports.
"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids," Jeffries told Salon magazine back in 2006. "We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don't alienate anybody, but you don't excite anybody, either."
He caught even more flack when, earlier this year, Robin Lewis, co-author of the book "The New Rules of Retail" wrote that Jeffries "doesn't want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people. 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.'"
After A&F's shares closed down 14 percent on Wednesday, Leslee Herro, A&F's head of planning and allocation, announced at an analyst briefing that in preparation for a potentially rough holiday season and overall low sales, the company has plans to expand, and that includes developing larger sizes of their clothing.
"We recognize that our businesses have been and will continue to be disrupted by both fast fashion and pure play e-commerce competitors," she said.
In addition to an upcoming plus-size section, the A&F will also add more colors and shoes to their stores in an attempt to win over teens who have found new fashion trends to follow, more likely to hit up stores like Forever 21 and H&M.
Meanwhile, A&F's rival, American Eagle Outfitters, has "better-than-expected margins," ending its "third-quarter with clean inventory and estimated earnings for the period above Wall Street forecasts," according to Reuters.