And You Thought Your Boss Was A Micromanager?

Photo: Courtesy of Bloomberg Businessweek.
Even if you haven’t followed the story very closely, it's been obvious that Abercrombie & Fitch has made adjustments to win back some of its popularity in the retail space. They turned the lights on, ditched the deafening club-like tunes, and eased up on the cologne, as Bloomberg Businessweek describes. And, with A&F's former CEO and in-house micromanager, Mike Jeffries, out of the picture, the publication suggests this is a pivotal time to watch what happens next. 

In the feature “The Aging Of Abercrombie & Fitch," Bloomberg outlines what many have know since the ‘90s: Jeffries was living and breathing all things A&F. He was the man who walked the headquarters in ripped jeans and flip-flops, his home looked like an Abercrombie store, he hardly took a day off to recover from plastic surgery, and no matter where he traveled, he always had a team to "make sure his car and hotel looked and smelled the way he wanted," according to Bloomberg. Not only did male models get hired for retail spaces, they were also employed to clean Jeffries' house and serve coffee on business trips.

Then there was the "Look Book" — essentially a manifesto for Abercrombie sales employees' behavior and appearance. As the story claims, it dictated everything from the amount of makeup worn to appropriate speech. (“Hey, what’s going on?” was the company-approved opening line.) 

“Mike indelibly linked his entire persona, his soul, to this brand’s image…For him to change the brand would have taken the greatest psychologist in the world,” remarks retail consultant Robin Lewis of Jeffries' recent departure this past December.
Arthur Martinez, A&F board chairman also adds, "Mike was very focused on the stagecraft of our stores. I would say an inordinate amount of time was spent on shop keeping." With new leadership yet to be announced — and nearly 200 A&F stores to be closed by this year — it seems that the teen brand is looking beyond just the shops to save what once was the most popular logo in high school...even if that means easing up on the logo itself. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

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