Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hard times for Abercrombie & Fitch

Today it was in the headlines that Abercrombie & Fitch is being sued by a former employee for disability discrimination. 

22 year old law student Riam Dean is seeking up to £20,000 in damages claiming she felt "diminished" and "humiliated" by an incident which took place at the exclusive Saville Row store in London. Riam - who has a prosthetic arm - claims she was made to work in the stockroom as she was told she couldn't wear her cardigan on the shop floor as it didn’t fit with the company’s famous “look policy”.

I know that a lot of fashion retailers are quite pernickety about their dress code and knowing what the typical staff look like in Abercrombie & Fitch (they keep scantily clad models at store entrances), I can't help but think the American brand was in fact aiming to treat all their staff the same in this case... but I'll let the judge decide.

This news comes after the brand recently announced it is closing its Ruehl business saying the economic climate has hampered potential success of the upmarket brand. Ruehl was launched in 2004 as a more high-end sister to its Abercrombie & Fitch fascia.

Chief executive and Chairman Mike Jeffries said: 

“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.”

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