SEARCH

Entries in Abercrombie & Fitch (9)

Thursday
Jul042013

Jersey Shore's 'The Situation' Loses Lawsuit Against Abercrombie & Fitch

Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Reality television star Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino, who is celebrating his 32nd birthday and the fourth of July on Thursday, may find celebratory fireworks conciliatory after losing his lawsuit against retailer Abercrombie and Fitch for trademark violations.

Sorrentino, whose nickname refers to his abdominal muscles, filed a lawsuit against Abercrombie and Fitch in November 2012, claiming the company abused his name, image and trademark when asking him publicly not to wear the brand’s clothes on the show and then making T-shirts like “The Fitchuation” and “GTL,” in reference to a catchphrase made famous in MTV’s Jersey Shore: gym, tanning and laundry.

In 2011, Abercrombie and Fitch claimed that it tried to give a “substantial payment” to Sorrentino not to wear its clothes and underwear.

“We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans,” the company said in August 2011. A&F also offered to pay off Sorrentino’s Jersey Shore cast-mates not to wear the clothes.

Reid Wilson, vice president and associate general counsel for the company, said in a statement, ”We believed that the complaint against us was frivolous from the beginning, and we feel fully vindicated by the result. As to the underlying issues, we think that the entire matter is yesterday’s news.”

Sorrentino and his attorneys could not be reached for comment.

Sorrentino’s attorneys argued “The Situation” is eligible for trademark protection because it is “suggestive” or “arbitrary or fanciful,” which are categories of “distinctiveness” according to another appellate court’s decision in a trademark infringement case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Sullivan of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida ruled last Friday that, ”Although the word ‘situation’ is not a word that was coined or made up by the plaintiffs, or a word that is obsolete, totally unknown in the language or out of common usage, the court can discern no relationship between the word ‘situation’ and the apparel or entertainment services that the plaintiffs provide.”

O’Sullivan also wrote that Sorrentino and his company, MPS Entertainment LLC, did not develop his trademarks in time.

“At the time A&F began selling its ‘The Fitchuation’ T-shirt in February 2010, plaintiffs had not used ‘The Situation’ on a T-shirt or any other apparel,” O’Sullivan wrote.

Sorrentino “did not develop any common law rights to ‘The Situation’ for apparel until June of 2010 at the earliest,” the ruling stated, and ”did not offer apparel until after A&F introduced its parody T-shirt, and even then only on their website, officialsituation.com.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May292013

Abercrombie Apologizes, Meets with Teens to Address Controversy

Paul Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The viral backlash against Abercrombie & Fitch for refusing to offer larger sizes for their customers, and for the controversial remarks made by their CEO, Mike Jeffries, isn’t going away.

“Not only will I not let my kids shop at Abercrombie again, I will not let them wear what they already have in their closets,” said one mom, reading from a letter in an online video.

The public outcry is still escalating a month after ABC News first reported the retailer doesn’t carry women’s sizes above a large, and that the CEO only wants cool kids in his clothes, once telling Salon magazine, “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

But the PR nightmare is just the tip of the iceberg for Abercrombie’s problems. The trendy retailer announced Friday that its U.S. sales fell 17 percent in the first quarter, declines that occurred before the controversy erupted.

However, the company finally responded last week to protestors, meeting with the organizers of a Chicago rally.

“These kids are serious,” Darryl Roberts, the protest’s organizer, told ABC News. “They have had enough.”

“I’m cautiously optimistic, but I think if we continue an open dialogue with Abercrombie & Fitch, we can really make some real change to their business and business across the world,” added Benjamin O’Keefe, 18, creator of an Abercrombie & Fitch petition on Change.org that garnered more than 73,000 signatures.

O’Keefe’s petition caught the retailer’s attention, who agreed to sit down with him on May 21 to discuss how Abercrombie can improve upon its lack of diversity in their clothing and branding.

Shortly after the meeting’s conclusion, an Abercrombie spokesman released the following statement apologizing for past comments: “We look forward to continuing this dialogue and taking concrete steps to demonstrate our commitment to anti-bullying in addition to our ongoing support of diversity and inclusion. We want to reiterate that we sincerely regret and apologize for any offense caused by comments we have made in the past which are contrary to these values.”

But for some, like blogger Jes Baker, creator of a faux Abercrombie & Fitch campaign, it’s too little too late.

“The only thing you’ve done through your comments is reinforce the unoriginal concept that fat women are social failures, valueless, and undesirable,” Baker writes on her blog, The Militant Baker. “Your apology doesn’t change this.”

Sources at Abercrombie & Fitch tell ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis the company expects to make an announcement next week with more details on how they will combat bullying.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May152013

Abercrombie & Fitch Faces Protests, Backlash for Not Selling Larger Sizes

Paul Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Add Kirstie Alley to the list of Abercrombie & Fitch critics who take exception to the company’s refusal to carry clothing in larger sizes.

The Former Cheers actress and Dancing With the Stars competitor slammed the store Tuesday, telling Entertainment Tonight she would “never buy anything from Abercrombie.”

The popular casual-clothing retailer is under fire for filling its shelves with products for the smallest of customers.

Protesters gathered outside the retailer’s Michigan Avenue store in Chicago on Monday, outraged about the store’s not carrying clothes in a size 14, the size worn by the average U.S. woman. Plus-size shoppers now make up 67 percent of U.S. consumers.

“It’s body discrimination, and it’s bullying and it encourages bullying,” Cali Lindstrom, a former Abercrombie & Fitch customer, told ABC News.

The backlash is growing online on Twitter and Facebook, and several petitions on Change.org urge people not to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch until the New Albany, Ohio-based retailer starts carrying larger sizes.

One YouTube user started a “Fitch the Homeless Campaign,” asking customers to rebrand the popular retailer by giving their Abercrombie & Fitch clothes to the homeless.

An ABC News report last week revealed that the trendy retailer carries mostly double-zero and extra-small sizes inside its New York City flagship store. There was no clothing for women in sizes larger than a 10, and salespeople at the store confirmed that Abercrombie doesn’t carry XL or XXL sizes for women.

Andrea Neusner and her three daughters are taking more extreme measures to show their dissatisfaction with the retailer. They’re sending every article of clothing they’ve ever bought from the store back to its outspoken and controversial CEO, Mike Jeffries.

Jeffries has not commented on the recent controversy, but has been forthright in the past about not wanting any customers who don’t fit the cool, young and sexy demographic the company targets.

Jeffries gave a 2006 interview to Salon magazine in which he said the store goes after “the attractive, all-American kid … A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

The retailer declined to comment on the protests.

Nicole Patrick, who was among the protesters in Chicago, said she is hurt by the exclusion.

“As a woman who cannot shop in Abercrombie, it’s extremely hurtful to hear that I’m not cool,” she said. “I think I’m really cool and so does my daughter.”

In addition to sending back her children’s clothes, Neusner also wrote a letter to Jeffries explaining her decision.

“My kids have been wearing [Abercrombie & Fitch] clothes for a long time … now we can make an informed choice not to shop there,” she told ABC News. “I didn’t want my kids being walking billboards for them but I didn’t want to throw [the clothes] away. I wanted the company to know how I felt about them.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct192012

Lawsuit Outlines Abercrombie and Fitch's CEO Michael Jeffries' Rules on Company Jet

Paul Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- A lawsuit and documents filed in a case against clothier Abercrombie & Fitch lays out the details of CEO Michael Jeffries' meticulous instructions for those serving him on the company's private jet, which includes well-shaved, boxer-clad models wearing color-specific hand gloves, a Phil Collins song playing during boarding and specific seating arrangements for his dogs.

The details were revealed in a case filed in federal court in Philadelphia by corporate jet pilot Michael Stephen Bustin, 55, who claims he was fired in December 2009 because of his age. In the case Jeffries, 68, is being accused of age discrimination.

The suit filed against Abercrombie & Fitch and obtained by ABC News states that the company terminated Bustin's employment "with the express intention of hiring younger pilots who were more in keeping with the defendant's corporate image ... which emphasized a 'youthful, all-American style.'"

The suit says that a 47-page "aircraft standards" manual states that male flight crew members aboard the company's Gulfstream G550 jet must wear A&F polo shirts, boxer briefs, flip-flops and a "spritz" of the A&F cologne, Bloomberg News reported.

As passengers board the aircraft for return flights, the 1985 Phil Collins hit "Take Me Home" must be piped over the cabin PA, according to the manual, and the executive's three dogs -- named as Ruby, Trouble and Sammy -- had specific seats based on which was traveling, according to the manual, Bloomberg reported.

The rules for serving Jeffries also state that staff must wear black gloves when handling silverware and white gloves for setting the table. Flight crew members are also banned from wearing coats unless the temperature falls below 50 degrees, according to Bloomberg.

Airline crew must "not expose the toilet paper and do not fold the end square," according to the manual, and "when [passengers] make a request, respond by saying 'no problem.' This should be used in place of phrases like, 'Sure' or, 'Just a minute,'" Bloomberg News reported.

Pilots on the company's private jets are not employed by Abercrombie & Fitch, and cabin crew are provided by a modeling agency. Bustin was employed by several companies that were contracted out by A&F, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit also cites a 2006 Salon.com interview with Jeffries, where he stated that the company "go[es] after the attractive all-American kid … a lot of people don't belong in our clothes and they can't belong," along with a Time interview where Jeffries states that he likes to hire employees as young as the college-aged customers he seeks to attract.

Jeffries also often made "disparaging or exclusionary comments about older individuals," the complaint states.

Calls placed by ABC News to Abercrombie & Fitch's General Counsel Ronald A. "Rocky" Robins, Jr. and the attorney listed as representing Bustin in the docket report were unanswered.

Though the court case was filed in 2010, documents filed since have highlighted Jeffries' meticulous control over the staff of his New Albany, Ohio-based company.

Last week, cashiers at Abercrombie & Fitch, started a petition with the labor group Retail Action Project on Change.org to request an end to "erratic scheduling" and "abusive on-call shifts" that leave workers waiting by the phone for work that sometimes does not come.

The details of the case also come at a time when the sales at the company whose marketing flaunts youth and beauty with scantily-clad models are slumping. After over a decade of continuous growth, since 2008 the company's revenue has slipped, and in its previous two fiscal quarters dropped 2.5 percent. The retailer announced this summer that it will shutter 180 U.S. locations through 2015.

The sales slump may be a symptom of the retailer's need for an image rebrand after a successful 13-year run, according to retail analyst Jennifer Black. In her second-quarter analysis of the retailer, she notes that the exiting of poorly performing stores along with better expense control will improve earnings.

"Mike [Jeffries] is a very talented merchant, but I feel like the stores -- the whole dark environment -- it's just not cool in the U.S. anymore," she told ABC News. "I do think they could turn it around if they downsize to productive stores in productive malls, while simultaneously changing the merchandise to inject more fashion so it doesn't look so much the same. "

Black said in her report that she thinks the brand could be poised for a comeback in the critical holiday season and throughout 2013.

In 2008, A&F renewed Jeffries' employment agreement until February 2014.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct172012

Abercrombie and Fitch, Other Retail Workers Protest 'Abusive' Scheduling

Paul Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Employees of Abercrombie & Fitch, Best Buy and other retailers protested Wednesday along New York City's posh Fifth Avenue shopping district against what they call "abusive" work scheduling.

Bintou Kamara, 22, a cashier at Abercrombie & Fitch, started a petition with the labor group Retail Action Project on Change.org last week to request an end to "erratic scheduling" and "abusive on-call shifts" that leave workers waiting by the phone for work that sometimes does not come.

Kamara, a full-time college student, said many retail workers are required to keep their schedules open, to be available at the whim of their managers.

She said that part-time workers at her location on Fifth Avenue had to call two hours before their shifts were to begin to inquire whether they were needed at work.

"Most of the time, you have to wait and sit there," she said.

To support her younger sister in high school and send money to her family in Togo, Kamara said she had to get a second part-time job as a home health aide.

She said many of the workers on strike are young and in similar situations.

"They feel like we can't do anything, we can't fight back and it's a big company," she said.

Ricah Norman, a former employee of a Best Buy store in Maryland, also protested in New York City.

The 23-year-old Norman, currently a student at an online university and looking for a job, said she had to quit school because she could not support herself while working two part-time jobs.

She said she tried to request a regular schedule, but her managers could not help.

"They basically said, 'That's the way the business is.'"

She said she has also tried to seek full-time employment, but many companies she has contacted are hiring only part-time employees.

"Retailers in general need to get back to the days when they scheduled people a correct amount of hours and allowed them to have a personal life while supporting families with sufficient wages and hours, instead of revolving their lives around the companies," she said.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Best Buy did not immediately return requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar222012

Abercrombie & Fitch Seeks Legal Action Against Fraudulent Online Retailer

Paul Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Image(NEW YORK) -- Abercrombie & Fitch is taking legal action against an online store they say is fraudulently operating under their name and selling merchandise described as “n****r brown” in color.

The website, abercrombie-and-fitchoutlet.com, seems to bear all the typical trademarks of the trendy U.S.-based clothing retailer, from the black-and-white-tinted model photos right down to the company’s logo -- a silhouetted moose.  As of Thursday night, the site was no longer accessible.

But an item featured on the website’s homepage – a pair of “N****r Brown Pants,” as they’re advertised – sparked outrage Thursday from consumers on blogs and across social media platforms like Twitter.

“Abercrombie and Fitch shows their true colors,” one person tweeted, referring to the description attached to the pair of men's pants.

“How can that even be real?!” someone else asked.

Turns out, it’s not. In a statement to ABC News, Abercrombie & Fitch said the website in question “is in no way affiliated” with the real company.

“[A]nd in any event, we do not condone racist language,” the statement continued. “This is a counterfeit website and we have initiated legal proceedings to shut it down.”

On its “About Us” page, the website in question does not directly note its lack of affiliation with Abercrombie, but says, “Abercrombie And Fitch, as we know, is a famous brand mainly specialized in trendy and casual clothing, which can be said that the new century, representatives of youth fashion.”

“We are honest, helpful, efficient, accountable and trustworthy, and we are committed to profitability and service,” the imposter page continues. “We want our colleagues and customers to feel At Home while shopping on our website.”

BusinessInsider reports that the website is registered to an address in China and that the whole controversy may have been caused by faulty translation software.

Nonetheless, Abercrombie & Fitch notes on its website safeguards consumers can take to protect themselves from fraudulent retailers.

“The only way to ensure you are purchasing genuine first quality gear is to visit one of our namesake stores or to visit our online store,” the company says.

“No other website is authorized to sell Abercrombie & Fitch merchandise,” they note. “Don't be fooled by the counterfeiters that attempt to copy the look of our website by stealing our images and content or by including our name within their domain address.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep122011

'Jersey Shore's' The Situation Fires Back at Abercrombie & Fitch

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Less than a month after Abercrombie & Fitch offered Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino money to not wear its clothes, the Jersey Shore star has issued his own proposal to the clothing retailer.

TMZ.com reports lawyers for "The Situation" have sent a cease-and-desist letter to Abercrombie & Fitch, ordering it to stop selling T-shirts that parody Jersey Shore with phrases like "The Fitchuation."  The letter, which claims trademark infringement, seeks all profits from sales of the shirts.  

In August, Abercrombie & Fitch offered "The Situation" and his co-stars a "substantial payment" to stop wearing its clothes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug182011

Abercrombie & Fitch's Stock Drops After Request to 'Jersey Shore' Stars

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- One day after the clothier offered to pay Jersey Shore star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino to not wear its apparel, Abercrombie & Fitch's stock dipped nearly eight percent.

That fact didn't escape Sorrentino, who tweeted a link to an online story about Wednesday's stock drop and wrote, "Looks like Abercrombie got themself [sic] into a Situation!"

It's worth noting that the stock drop probably had more to do with Abercrombie & Fitch's second-quarter earnings report, which was announced earlier in the day, than with its proposal to The Situation, who hasn't publicly stated whether he's considering the offer.

Abercrombie & Fitch issued the offer to Sorrentino and his Jersey Shore co-stars on Tuesday, claiming that any association between The Situation and its clothes "is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand."

MTV, which airs the show, reportedly has responded by calling the proposed deal a "clever PR stunt."

The cable network said, "We'd love to work with them on other ways they can leverage Jersey Shore to reach the largest youth audience on television."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug172011

Abercrombie & Fitch Offers 'The Situation' Money to Stop Wearing Its Clothes

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW ALBANY, Ohio) -- Here's an unusual situation.  Abercrombie & Fitch wants to pay Jersey Shore star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino to not wear its apparel.

The clothing retailer wants to keep its distance from "The Sitch," who wore a pair of Abercrombie & Fitch sweatpants in the most recent episode of the hit MTV series.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Abercrombie & Fitch said in a statement released Tuesday, "We understand that the show is for entertainment purposes, but believe this association is contrary to the aspirational nature of our brand, and may be distressing to many of our fans."

The company didn't disclose how much it's offering The Situation, describing the amount only as a "substantial payment."  His Jersey Shore co-stars have been extended similar offers.

Ironically, Abercrombie & Fitch has parodied, and profited from, The Situation's popularity by selling a T-shirt with the phrase "The Fitchuation" printed on it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio