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180 store fronts, going, going, gone...

It’s hard to believe that Abercrombie & Fitch, the brazen sexed-up teen clothing store was at one time the retailer of choice for great outdoorsman like Theodore Roosevelt, Clark Gable and President Eisenhower.

More recently, however, this heritage outfitters has become known for peddling soft porn to sell cheaply made, overpriced jeans and t-shirts.

For years pro-family organizations like Concerned Women for America, the American Decency Association, American Family Association and even a certain Illinois State Senator have exposed Abercrombie & Fitch’s marketing tactics, calling attention to their quarterly catalog full of nude pictorials of young men and women, their giant store posters featuring half-dressed models, and the infamous push-up bikini tops marketed to girls as young as 7 and 8. These organizations banded together and called for an all-out boycott of the mall retailer.

As a believer in the free market system, I’m not typically a huge fan of emotionally-charged boycotts from the left or the right. However, when businesses launch a full frontal assault on our children (pun intended), I think that the cries for a boycott are appropriate. Being a mother of seven – including two impressionable pre-tween boys – I’ve grown weary of having our family trips to the mall infringed upon by the half-naked greeters standing in the Abercrombie & Fitch’s store front inviting us to check out their “sexy fleece.” Fleece…sexy?

What can be sexy about oversized fuzzy sweatshirts? (but I digress)…

So, despite my more laissez-faire market principles, the protective and common-sense mom in me prevailed. So, I wasn’t terribly disappointed to discover that due to falling profits and underperforming stores, the Ohio-based teen retailer plans to close 180 of its U.S. store fronts by 2015. This comes on the heels of having closed 71 stores in 2012.

It was just a few years ago when Dennis Rainey, Founder and President of Family Life Today took to the airwaves and Christian publications to relate a story of visiting an Abercrombie & Fitch store with his then 13-year-old daughter. After a heated encounter with the sales clerk over the contents of Abercrombie & Fitch’s catalog and the sex-laden wall posters, Rainey made a promise to the manager:

“I just want you to know I’m only one customer. I’m just a daddy of six kids, but I have a lot of friends. And I want you to know that wherever I go, I’m going to use this episode as an illustration of a company that doesn’t care about the future of our young people, their morality, or the future of our nation.”

Rainey stayed true to his promise. For years, he’s been issuing a rallying cry to parents to stand up, speak out and protect our children from indecent, sex-driven advertising. His story has been shared over the radio and across the internet, educating parents who otherwise would never suspect that a mainstream mall retailer was hyping sex to sell apparel. Could it be that the efforts of Dennis Rainey and other pro family organizations are finally paying off?

Bill Johnson, President of Americans for Decency, a pro-family organization that led the crusade against Abercrombie & Fitch seems to think so.

“This was a long hard-fought battle, requiring a decade worth of educating, exposing and informing. Little by little people became aware of Abercrombie & Fitch’s marketing tactics and eventually enough consumers said they had enough.”

While pending store closings made the business news last month, those involved with the decade-long fight to expose Abercrombie & Fitch’s “skin sells” marketing tactics knew this day of reckoning was coming.

“If you look over the past decade, you will notice the parallel between the spread of our campaign and Abercrombie & Fitch’s decrease in sales. The more people learned about what was in their catalogs and how they were marketing their products, the less they wanted to shop there,” Johnson said.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for families to take a stand against retail moguls like Abercrombie & Fitch who seek to manipulate the octane level hormones of our youth just to turn a profit. But as this victory illustrates, our voices when banded together, can make a difference.

With tenacity and patience, parents still have the power to force businesses to make a choice: either reevaluate your marketing practices, or in the case of Abercrombie & Fitch, pay the ultimate price by closing up shop.


Kevin Jackson's hilarious take on Race-Pimping: The Multi-Trillion Dollar Business of Liberalism!

Enjoy this excerpt from the book:

"In actuality, black people will go to substandard hospitals, wait in long lines behind illegal immigrants, and be treated like non-citizens, as there simply won’t be enough healthcare to go around. There will be the occasional lucky few who will receive treatment, and we will parade them around like championship rings, thus continuing the ruse. As you can see, we’ve left out nothing. We touch more on this in Chapter 10: Promise Everything, Deliver Nothing. If for some reason we happen to run out of blacks, we will be able to apply our trade to the Mexicans with little disruptions. Plans are already underway for our next edition in this “How To” series: How to be a Latino "Race Pimp for Fun and Profit…even if you’re Illegal."

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  • Gwen Jones Norris

    Hopefully this will be the forerunner of how all of us need to stand against the misuse of our children.

  • Josh

    It also has to do with the sky high prices they have there and that most of there clothes on fit anorexic people.

  • KDub

    I think it’s rather naive of you to think that A & F stores are closing because of “families voices”. No way. Absolutely NO WAY did that happen. Businesses close all the time for many different reasons and with society being the way it is, I highly doubt that conservatism had anything to do with the rise or fall of a clothing business.

    • Mary Bradshaw

      Riiiight. Just like JC Penney’s sales haven’t plummeted since they hired Ellen as their spokesMAN.

      • KDub

        I doubt that Ellen is the reason for the plummeting sales. Have you been in Penney’s lately? I haven’t. I don’t shop at malls anyway. Way overpriced “stuff” that I don’t need to spend my hard earned money on. And yes, I am a conservative mom of two teenagers.

        • ElizabethConley

          I used to buy leather handbags from J.C. Penney’s. Their store brand was the best balance between quality and price on the market. These handbags are still a good buy, but I haven’t been to their website lately and I’m not likely to visit either.
          Until a handbag wears out and I’m feeling desperate, J.C. Penney’s is not going to see me.
          They don’t sell cloths for people like me any more, and I’m fed up.

          • woofa

            Cloths? Oh, you mean clothes.

        • TurtleShroom

          I think what began the death spiral of JC Penny was their disgustingly obscene homosexual propaganda a year or so. Remember tha? With the “two dads” or “two moms” BS?

      • woofa

        Penney’s sales plummet has to do with Ron Johnson’s misguided leadership. He was former head of Retail Ops at Apple. The stupid pricing strategy he attempted put Penney’s in a freefall alienating long time customers, nothing to do with Ellen, in fact she helped after Ron Johnson’s debacle with the price per day strategy.

  • Anthony Miller

    Hee, hee, hee… Here’s a great one from Improv Everywhere

  • Janice Teed Black

    I don’t know how much family voices had to do with it, but I do know that I asked them to stop mailing catalogues to us several years ago . . . which doubtless reduced the sales they made in our household over time! Also, on the few occasions when we browsed their store at our mall and bought something, I always refused to carry our purchases through the mall in the obscene bags that they provided. So, they lost a bit of free advertising that way. High prices, anorexic fit, and stores so dark that you had to guess at the colors of the merchandise were probably a big part of their decline, but I think their unwillingness to listen to customers (or parents of their customers!) did contribute.

  • Chris Joseph

    How many A&F stores are still open?

  • Ransom Davidson

    Praise the Lord! Let’s keep fighting the good fight for the sake of what’s right in His name, the name above all names, Jesus the Christ. And he loves the children, doesn’t He? —

    …but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

  • Gaye Kryzer

    A few years ago, I had bought about $260 worth of clothing for my ‘tween’ son at Ambercrombie & Finch. While driving 150 miles home from the ‘city’ I listened to a radio program talking about the negative influence stores like A&F were having on our youth. I turned around and took back the entire bag of clothes. I told the clerk to please let her ‘higher ups’ know why I was returning the merchandise and that I would not be shopping in their store again. Our children are more valuable than $260. If each of us does our part, the message that goes out is effective. I won’t be shopping at JCPenney either. It’s a moral choice we are all still free to make.

  • TurtleShroom

    The Free Market prevails. The Free Market prevails.


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