Abercrombie & Fitch Co., facing sluggish mall traffic and a shift to fast-fashion brands, is eliminating about 150 corporate jobs after years of struggling to turn around the chain. The cutbacks are meant to “ensure we are structured appropriately for the current retail environment,” the New Albany, Ohio-based company said in a statement. The reductions would represent just 3 percent of the 5,000 jobs Abercrombie had last year, though most of those positions are at stores, not the corporate level.
Abercrombie, once a hot destination for teen and 20-something shoppers, joins a parade of retailers making changes in the wake of a challenging holiday season. Macy’s Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp. are closing stores, and The Limited – another former shopping-mall star – said this month it would shutter all its stores and file for bankruptcy.
Hollister Co., Abercrombie’s more youth-focused division, also is revamping its Gilly Hicks brand in a bid to attract shoppers. The intimate-apparel line, which includes bras, underwear, swimsuits and pajamas, will be touted at in-store boutiques within Hollister locations.
Abercrombie’s shares plunged in November after earnings came in well short of analysts’ estimates, a sign that efforts to recapture its allure haven’t gained traction. Another possible concern for investors: The company still lacks a permanent chief executive officer, more than two years since longtime CEO Mike Jeffries stepped down in late 2014.
The stock, which declined 56 percent in 2016, fell 2.7 percent to $11.71 on Thursday in New York.