Abercrombie & Fitch Might Pay for CEO Jeffries' Sins
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In 2013, Mike Jeffries of Abercrombie & Fitch
Jeffries, who was born in 1944, is the very picture of Dorian Gray. (Read Oscar Wilde's novel free at Project Gutenberg.) From a distance he looks like he was born in 1984. Blogger Uglyboyfresh calls him a cross between Joan Rivers and Gary Busey.
Jeffries built Abercrombie & Fitch from nothing, after The Limited (now known as L Brands
Mike Jeffries is a proud man, a vain man, and wants others to see him as a great man. So in 2006 he opened up to Salon, surrounded by young, attractive acolytes, and admitted "We go after the cool kids," adding that his brand is "exclusionary."
The interview waited until this year to explode over the Internet, until after Swedish rival H&M began featuring a plus-sized model, an online petition gained support of the masses and celebrities voiced their disdain.
Suddenly the beautiful people, who all want to look like A&F but don't want anyone to know they disdain their less-attractive friends, rose up in anger. Reportedly Ellen DeGeneres condemned the chain on her TV show. Miley Cyrus said she was going to burn her A&F wardrobe. Videographer Greg Karber dressed homeless people in A&F gear as a protest.
Worse, the controversy started hitting Abercrombie & Fitch's top line. Sales during the spring quarter, ending in May, were down almost 10% from the same period a year ago. The stock fell from $56 in late May to $43.50 in late June.