Breaking Down Abercrombie’s Turnaround Story

By: Anneken Tappe · June 13, 2024 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you remember the early 2000s, you remember Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF). Well, it’s back, both in pop culture and in the stock market.

Following the early aughts craze, Abercrombie sales fell for a staggering 11 straight quarters, or nearly 3 years, leading the company to part ways with longtime CEO Mike Jeffries in 2014. Since 2017, Fran Horowitz has been working on a turnaround story as CEO. Today, Abercrombie’s sales — and shares — are partying like it’s 1999. What changed?

Mall Brand Miracle

Abercrombie & Fitch is no longer the cologne-scented mall mainstay it was 20 years ago. Its fall from grace followed criticisms of the brand’s exclusionary practices, such as refusing to stock XL women’s sizes. The brand looks different today, targeting a more expansive audience. For example, its inclusive denim line Curve Love found viral success on TikTok.

The brand has also shuttered more than 100 brick-and-mortar stores and now prioritizes smaller locations with leaner inventory. Meanwhile, online sales are booming, accounting for nearly half of the brand’s total sales, thanks to a renewed focus on social media and influencer marketing, which has helped Abercrombie regain traction with younger shoppers.

Soaring Stock

All this change paved the way for the company’s stock to climb higher, too, rising more than 450% over the past year. For some context, the S&P 500, the broadest tracker of the U.S. stock market, was up about 24% last year. In the year to date, Abercromie stock has gained more than 100%.

In its most recent fiscal year, the retailer’s annual revenue jumped 16% annually, and its net income leapt to $328 million from less than $3 million the year before.

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