The trendy US fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch entered the UK in 2007 with the opening of a flagship store close to Savile Row in London. Located in the upmarket Mayfair area of London, Savile Row is famous for its traditional men’s tailors.
Recently Abercrombie & Fitch decided to go one step further by opening a childrenswear store directly on Savile Row. This move upset the local retailers and was met with protests.
This was just the latest in a history of controversy surrounding Abercrombie & Fitch which has included a product boycott and a lawsuit concerning employment issues. Should all this bad publicity be a concern for the company?
We expect tastes to be one of the key determinants of demand. If taste for a company’s product declines, its demand curve shifts to the left. This means it can sell less at any given price and consequently will have a knock-on effect on profits. Somewhat surprisingly, therefore, the PR expert, Mark Borkowski, quoted in the Guardian article above, suggests that all this adverse publicity may have in fact helped the company because:
“…the focus is on the brand. They’ve got a very keen identity of who they are, what they want, who they want to consume their products, and they’ve stuck to it.”
It is also clear that the company is very aware of the importance of protecting its brand – even going as far as paying television actors NOT to wear their clothes! Abercrombie & Fitch has also been reluctant to cut its prices during the current recession, perhaps because of a fear of harming its brand.
Abercrombie & Fitch with its ‘crappy clothes’ threatens staid Savile Row Observer, Euan Ferguson (11/03/12)
Savile Row cannot live in the past Guardian, Charlie Porter (24/04/12)
Sorry chaps, Abercrombie & Fitch simply doesn’t fit Savile Row Guardian, Gustav Temple (24/04/12)
Savile unrest … the tailors who want to stop Abercrombie & Fitch London Evening Standard, Josh Sims (27/04/12)
- What are the distinctive features of the Abercrombie & Fitch brand?
- What are the key features of competition in this industry?
- Why might Abercrombie & Fitch be keen to open up a store on Savile Row?
- Why might the local tailors object to Abercrombie & Fitch opening a store nearby?
- Why do you think negative publicity appears to have little effect on Abercrombie & Fitch?
- Why do you think television coverage could harm the Abercrombie & Fitch brand?