Abercrombie & Fitch, through its subsidiaries, is a specialty retailer that operates stores and Websites. The Company sells casual sportswear apparel, including knit and woven shirts, graphic t-shirts, fleece, jeans and woven pants, shorts, sweaters, outerwear, personal care products and accessories for men, women and kids under the Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie (for the companys pre-adult line of clothing), Hollister (west coast, surfer-feel clothing) and RUEHL brands. In addition, the Company operates stores and a Website offering bras, underwear, personal care products, sleepwear and at-home products for women under the Gilly Hicks brand. As of January 31, 2009, the Company operated 1,125 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The operating segments of the Company include Abercrombie & Fitch, abercrombie, Hollister, RUEHL and Gilly Hicks1.
1. Along with American Eagle, Timberland, Aeropostale & Limited Brands, Abercrombie has pledged not to use Australian merino wools that came from farmers using the 'mulesing' technique of shearing wool from the sheep, which painfully cuts excess flesh from the sheeps' loose hides to eliminate the risk of an illness called flystrike the sheep get when flies nest in the folds of an animals skin. Animal rights group, PETA has vehemently opposed this practice and seems from the article to oppose wool altogether. Why is this so? What are the most humane ways of using wool and who is doing this the best? How did Abercrombie communicate this message?1.
1. Discrimination lawsuits - Abercrombie paid $50M in 2004 to settle a lawsuit by the EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) that accused Abercrombie of promoting whites over minorities and cultivating a practically all-white image in catalogs and elsewhere. On 9/18/09, an article online stated that a muslim teenager is suing Abercrombie for discrimation against him on the basis of religion. An Abercrombie spokesperson responded that the company has "a strong equal employment opportunity policy, and we accommodate religious beliefs and practices when possible." It is presumed that the teen was laid off or fired. He is seaeking back pay and monetary rewards from "emotional pain, suffering, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation and inconvenience."1. Another article appeared on 9/14/09 about a case where Abercrombie discriminated against a autistic girl who was trying on clothes with her sister in the dressing room; Abercrombie employees told the two sisters that only one person was allowed at a time in the room due to shoplifting. The family sued and won $25K plus covering their legal fees2. The question remains, how might Abercrombie proactively create an atmosphere in their stores and culture which is accomodating and mindful of diversity and special needs? What has the company done since these lawsuits to improve in this regard?
HQ in New Albany, Ohio. No mention of corporate social responsibility, sustainability or ethical sourcing.