Abercrombie & Fitch gives up on teenagers

Abercrombie adAbercrombie & FitchAbercrombie’s recent ads seem more geared toward college students and twenty-somethings.

It seems like Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t care what teenagers think.

The brand didn’t mention the word “teen” or “teenager” once during a recent earnings conference call with investors.

Instead, executives say the brand is working to attract a “broader target market.”

Abercrombie’s same-store sales fell 8% and total sales dropped 14%. The brand says it’s still waiting to see more progress from its turnaround brand, which includes offering clothing that is less preppy and more fashionable.

The once-dominant teen retailer is choosing to market to an older audience for the first time in decades, Jonathan Ramsden, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, told Lindsey Rupp at Bloomberg News last year.

“It’s part of wanting to separate the brands more, take Abercrombie to more of a premium, with Hollister as more fast-fashion,” Ramsden told Bloomberg. “It’s an opportunity to connect Abercrombie & Fitch with its heritage and move it up in demographic.”

The retailer has also toned down its sexy advertisements.

Teenage consumers’ mentalities are changing rapidly, according to Piper Jaffray’s recent Taking Stock With Teens survey.

Researchers found that today’s teens are increasingly spending on technology and food over clothing.

For the first time in history, teens are spending as much on food as they are on clothing, according to the analysts at Piper Jaffray. This is fuelled by trendy coffee drinks at Starbucks, the top food retailer among the demographic.

Many teens are also more concerned with having a new iPhone than a name-brand t-shirt, according to the survey.

When they do buy trendy clothes, teens are value-conscious. They prefer fast-fashion companies like H&M and Forever 21 to the more expensive specialty stores.

Denim is also losing popularity to stretchy yoga pants from retailers like Lululemon and Nike, the analysts at Wunderlich write.

With these trends, it’s no wonder Abercrombie is turning its focus away from teens.

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