Abercrombie & Fitch is struggling in the U.S. and so, it has been looking abroad to cure these domestic woes. The teen retailer, which has suffered significantly in the past decade after losing touch with the demands of young consumers and falling behind in the market thanks to the rise of fast fashion retailers, currently maintains brick and mortar locations in Mexico, France, Belguim, Singapore, South Korea, and Dubai – among other locales – is adding to its roster of stores. The company will add operations in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman in the near future, as well.
Through a partnership with Majid Al Futtaim Fashion, a Dubai-based retail partner that assists non-native brands in expanding in the Middle East and North Africa region, Abercrombie is expanding further after opening stores in Dubai and Kuwait not too long ago. The move comes on the heels of Abercrombie’s closure of roughly 300 stores over the past several seasons. The revamping of its retail network comes as part of a larger overhaul, which has seen the brand introduce significantly altered garment and accessory offerings and a new toned-down brand image.
According to a statement from the brand in November, “In a step forward in its reinvention strategy, Abercrombie & Fitch … will launch a campaign presenting a significantly revamped collection, one that executives say portrays a modern, minimalist look, higher quality, and less sexual imagery.”
“With the evolution of the brand, we wanted to try something new,” said Craig Brommers speaking to WWD last year (Note: Brommers left the company in January to pursue other opportunities). That evolution also includes the ousting of Abercrombie’s longtime CEO, Mike Jeffries in late 2014.
“We announced a number of changes a few months ago, which were based on our customer’s feedback,” Brommers said. “One of those changes was the elimination of sexualized imagery. As we evolve the brand in terms of product and marketing, making the consumer aware of these changes is important. Although we are still on a journey of change, we feel that we have made developments in our brand creative, which have been a step forward for us.” It seems intentional expansion is just another step in Abercrombie’s comeback master plan.