(Filed Under Fashion News). Abercrombie & Fitch will be closing all 29 of its Ruehl branded stores and related direct-to-consumer operations. The company anticipates the closures to be substantially complete by the end of the current fiscal year.
The company said although it was encouraged by the brand’s initial performance, given the severe economic downturn and its impact on retail and consumer sectors, it was determined that “the timing is not right to continue to pursue the further development of Ruehl.”
As reported in BODY two weeks ago, Abercrombie & Fitch had been considering dropping Ruehl, it’s worst performing brand, which saw a 34 percent drop in sales during the company’s recent first quarter.
CEO and chairman of the board of Abercrombie & Fitch, Mike Jeffries, said “It has been a difficult decision to close Ruehl, a brand we continue to believe could have been successful in different circumstances. However, given the current economic environment, we believe it is in the best interests of the company to focus its efforts and resources on the growth opportunities afforded by our other brands, particularly internationally.”
Launched in September 2004, Ruehl was a “West Village-inspired concept,” offering women and men casual apparel. Abercrombie operates 350 Abercrombie & Fitch stores, 210 Abercrombie stores, 507 Hollister Co., stores and 16 Gilly Hicks (the company’s intimate apparel brand) stores in the U.S.
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