After a tough fiscal 2016 was compounded by a brutal fourth quarter, Abercrombie & Fitch is officially looking for a buyer.
Rumors were confirmed yesterday by the company, via an investor statement that read, “after receiving expressions of interest, [A&F] is in preliminary discussions with several parties regarding a potential transaction…”
Reuters later reported that the struggling company “hired investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners to handle the takeover approaches,” which, to be clear doesn’t necessarily mean that a deal is currently in the works. But it also doesn’t mean they’re not trying to make a deal happen.
As we all know, it’s been a rough few years for mall brands, and Abercrombie — the late-’90s mall brand king — has been in flux for quite some time. The company fired its longtime, much-maligned CEO, Michael Jeffries, in 2014, scrapped the hyper-sexualized Bruce Weber quarterlies, and have attempted to make the overall aesthetic both more inclusive (re: brighter, less cologne-y) and more contemporary, even hiring menswear gawd Aaron Levine in 2015 to update the look.
Unfortunately, it’s not working. Net sales in 2016 dropped by 9% to $1.48 billion, and took a 13% dip in the last quarter. And, 54 stores were closed, with an estimated 60 more to follow this year.