Buckle Up: Abercrombie (ANF) is Hot Again

March 25, 2022

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane. Imagine you are in the mall, in the early 2000s.

I bet if you close your eyes, you can smell the spicy scent of Abercrombie cologne wafting out of a dim-lit store and rushing over fellow mall shoppers walking by.

The retailer was thriving. Simply put, it was a brand for young, “good-looking people.

And this branding ultimately proved to be Abercrombie’s Achilles heel.

The company was eventually found to have discriminatory practices, including its dress code. In fact, at one point the company would only hire “attractive” people. Now you’re probably asking how that might be legal? It used a loophole by calling employees “models”.

Obviously, with the changing social sentiment in years past this policy was, itself canceled, in 2015.

But the market “canceled” Abercrombie well before.

After peaking in 2007, ANF shares plunged more than 89% over the next decade, trading below $9 in July 2017.

And now, something interesting is happening. 

Abercrombie is Making a Come-Back 

Dare I say, Abercrombie is getting its groove back?

Let’s dive into the LikeFolio data and have a look.

Mentions have increased by double-digits on a YoY basis.

In fact, Mention volume is reaching levels we haven’t recorded in years.

But the stock is trading below 2021 highs, alongside many other names at the moment.

A lackluster earnings report didn’t help; ANF shares dropped about 15% after. The company blamed this on holiday inventory delays and omicron which hurt them during the busy holiday season.

However, according to CEO Franz Horowitz sales rebounded in late January as Covid cases fell.

LikeFolio data confirms this.

And sentiment has been strong with the company as well beating out notable competitors, Gap (GPS) and American Eagle (AEO).

Is there an opportunity brewing?

Alongside positive LikeFolio data, external research presents a compelling case for ANF:

1. Supply-chain constraints can be expected to improve alongside pandemic recovery. On its last earnings call, Abercrombie leadership noted, “We are caught up on receipts and do not anticipate significant inventory supply issues for the first quarter. We continue to execute against multiple initiatives to mitigate go-forward inventory disruptions, including updating our product calendar and diversifying our ports, carriers, and countries of origin.”

2. Abercrombie is expanding into activewear. The company announced the move into the activewear space earlier this week with a new brand: Your Personal Best or YPB.

3. Abercrombie is transforming its brand perception. Its new athletic-wear line encompasses a wider range of sizes from XS to XXL.

Bottom Line: This isn’t Your Momma’s Abercrombie...

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