The CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, Mike Jeffries, caused a stir when he announced that Abercrombie stores don’t stock clothes in any size larger than a 10 for women. In fact, it is a purposeful attempt to keep larger women out of his stores and not wearing his “cool” brand. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this guy has a serious problem on his hands. His lame apology a week after being called out was disingenuous at best. Several bloggers have taken Mr. Jeffries to task for his boorish statement and have had a little fun throwing it back in his face.
My sympathy lies with Abercrombie’s corporate PR department, who are left with mopping up this mess. I’m sure they are the ones who drafted his statement and urged him to recant. But what happens now? Here are a few things Abercrombie can do to redeem its image among its customers, and perhaps avert another public relations nightmare.
- Fire the CEO. Nothing says “you were wrong” like a trip to the unemployment line.
- Change your clothing policy to match the apology. There is no reason not to stock sizes that are readily found in other trendy shops.
- Don’t discriminate in hiring. You’re setting yourself up for a lawsuit.
- Invite moms and grandmas back in to your stores. Apparently, Abercrombie is unaware that most of the skinny kids who shop there have parents and grandparents who pay for all the pricey stuff.
- Un-stink your stores. (this has nothing to do with the crisis, but has always bugged me) No one wants to come out of a retail shop smelling like they fell into a vat of Old Spice.
If Abercrombie was our client…oh nevermind. We’d never have that guy for a client. We’re not that desperate.