Nineties Nostalgia and a Brand Overhaul Has Sent Abercrombie’s Stock Up Over 500% - The Average Joe


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    Nineties Nostalgia and a Brand Overhaul Has Sent Abercrombie’s Stock Up Over 500%

    Noah Weidner

    May 29, 2024

    Since its humble beginnings as a hunting gear company back in 1892, Abercrombie & Fitch ($ANF) has ebbed and flowed between the epicenter of tween and teen culture — to finding itself at the bottom of the discount rack.

    Abercrombie has tried on several outfits throughout its journey: bankruptcy and takeover threats in the ‘70s and ‘80s, followed by a stint as an American staple for the “cool kids” in the ‘90s. However, the aftermath of the Great Recession saw 11 consecutive quarters of sales decline, leading to the exit of controversial CEO Mike Jeffries. But now, Abercrombie is making a comeback, energized by an unexpected force.

    Aber-comeback: Under CEO Fran Horowitz’s leadership since 2017, Abercrombie revamped its image, ditching the “cool kid” vibe and overhauling its product lineup. This reinvention has turned the tide, pulling Abercrombie out of its decade-long sales slump — even thriving during the pandemic. The company saw surprise profits, opened new stores, and grew double-digit revenue while the fashion industry struggled.

    • In the first quarter, Abercrombie reported record-breaking earnings, with sales soaring by 22% year-over-year to $1.02B — surpassing the 16% increase in 2023.
    • Its accelerating sales and outlook have helped push $ANF up over 500% in the last year, ranking it among the top performers.

    Just like new

    Abercrombie’s resurgence can be attributed to a revival of ‘90s fashion trends embraced by nostalgic Millennials and curious Gen Zers. Morning Consult data reflects a surge in the brand’s popularity to record levels — signaling promising growth ahead.

    • In its latest report, Abercrombie raised its sales forecast for 2024 — anticipating a 10% rise compared to the earlier projection of 4-6% growth forecast at the end of 2023.
    • The company also plans on opening new stores in the US, Germany, and the UK while testing out new business segments like wedding attire.

    Exercising discretion: Abercrombie’s improved outlook aligns with upbeat sentiments from other consumer brands like Target ($TGT) and Walmart ($WMT), which found that discretionary spending accelerated in the latest quarter. Companies like American Eagle ($AEO) and Dick’s Sporting Goods ($DKS) have also shared optimistic outlooks in their earnings reports yesterday. If this trend persists, it could signal the end of a torrid year for consumer brands.

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