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Successful Companies Adjust

Published on September 17, 2012 by in Quotes

On a whim, he took out his best tweeds, a beautiful soft tan suit which had cost two hundred dollars at Abercrombie and Fitch, and selected with fussy care a powder-blue wool tie, Argyle socks, and a white shirt with a button-down collar.

Herman Wouk
The Caine Mutiny

The Caine Mutiny published in 1951 is about US Navy sailors during World War II.  From the quote above you can see that the store was very different from the image we imagine when we think of Abercrombie and Fitch.  What’s interesting is that Abercrombie and Fitch in the 1940s was a company known for sporting goods and men’s outdoor clothing.  Today they are known as a teenage clothing retailer.

The sporting goods store was established in 1892 and survived until 1977.  The company had failed to make the transition from expensive and upscale outdoor equipment favored by safari and sailing enthusiasts to the the more active recreation equipment such as skis and bicycles that were popular in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Limited, Inc. purchased the Abercrombie and Fitch brand (with most of the remaining stores) in 1988.  They took the company in a new direction, slowly removing the sporting goods, and replacing them with apparel.  The store we know today is vastly different from that of the 1940s.  Adjusting to the times is what kept the brand alive, even if it took new owners to make the transition.


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