So Mike Jeffries, clueless, narcissistic CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch (NYSE:ANF), is at it again. Abercrombie saw a 33% profit loss this past quarter and he’s blaming it of course on the economy. That’s right, the man who spent the first and second quarter of this year alienating teens everywhere with his grotesque comments about who’s cool and who isn’t, blamed his colossal loss on the fact that the recent uptick in the economy hasn’t trickled down to teen buyers yet. Oh really? Is that so? Hmm. Then how does he explain the profit increases in that same period by competitors Urban Outfitters and The Gap? They’re targeting teens, too, so what gives?
Well, let’s see…let’s roll the footage so to speak. Here’s one memorable thing he said recently, in case you don’t recall. Maybe this has something to do with it:
“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he says. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. 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.”
What he’s saying here is that alienating large swaths of teens is a deliberate activity. He’s intentionally insulting the masses. Why? Because he wants to excite us and I guess it’s too vanilla to be nice. And, he somehow thinks that in doing so, he will generate sales and profit from a tiny, exclusive group of beautiful American teens (whatever that means) – and might I add rich too – (see: A&F washed denim shirt, size youth medium $70).
But, don’t you see Mike, that when CEOs offend large groups of people in their comments, people stop liking the company and stop buying from it (see also Chick-Fil-A)? Perhaps your latest quarter performance is your fault not the economy’s. The uncool kids (and make no mistake they are the majority) have spoken. They are showing you just how they feel about your comments with their wallets.
It’s bad enough they have to worry about whether they’ll fit in at school. You are assuring them that even at the mall – a traditionally “safe” teen haven – there’s yet another place where they also don’t fit in. Good job, and, as a Mom of a precocious, prepubescent tween, thanks a lot.
You fool, thinking that by catering to an elite group, as defined by only you, you will carve out some crazy profit-making niche. Just the opposite my foe. For in the real world, where the rest of us live, it is cool to be real. It is cool to be naturally yourself and to care about people beyond their clothes, their bodies and their skin. Even teens get that. So you keep up your crusade to only clothe the cool people, and the rest of us Gap-clad geeks will watch while your empire falls. That will be really cool to see.