Abercrombie & Fitch CEO, Mike Jeffries, has alienated 66% of his potential female target market, including millions of moms who shop for their kids and teens. The 61-year-old CEO of the popular clothing line says he only wants “thin, beautiful people” shopping at Abercrombie.
Have you checked recent statistics, Mr. Jeffries? According to womenshealth.gov, 66 percent of adult women are overweight and 32 percent of adolescent girls are overweight. That’s a lot of market share to give up over a pant size. In a 2006 interview with salon.com, Jeffries said his company is “absolutely exclusionary” because he thinks companies that try to target everyone fail.
I’ll give him that much but blowing off such a large number of potential female shoppers is not a smart move. When marketing to women, the message matters just as much as the product you sell. The message Jeffries is sending says “you suck and can’t be a part of our club if your pants size is larger than a 10.” No matter the age, women are emotional shoppers. Make us mad and we’ll tell everyone we know- and even a few we don’t.
It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out on the national stage, but I’m one female consumer of many who will no longer support the Abercrombie brand.