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Abercrombie & Fitch targets plus size customers as sales decline

The preppy American retailer plans to expand its clothing range after ditching "no plus size" policy

US retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has announced plans to expand sizes, colours and fits starting next spring in a bid to capture new customers.

The announcement marks a significant departure from the company’s “no plus size” policy, which fails to cater customers above a size L, or the equivalent of a US size 10 (UK 12).

The move comes after Abercrombie posted its seventh quarterly drop in same-store sales, sending shares tumbling earlier this week, as it continues to lose ground against rival American Eagle Outfitters and fast fashion retailers Forever 21 and H&M.

Abercrombie, known for its all-American athletic look and semi-naked shop assistants, has come under fire for its strict young, thin and beautiful aesthetic favoured by CEO Mike Jefferies.

Jefferies made headlines after a controversial interview where he defended the label’s sizing policy, insisting that “only cool kids” have the right look to shop at Abercrombie. 

“That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that,” Jefferies said.

The comments prompted a social media campaign against the company with Hollywood personalities Miley Cyrus, Kirstie Alley and Ellen DeGeneres calling for a boycott.

The company also unveiled plans to launch a shoe collection and the restructuring of its lingerie brand, Gilly Hicks, which will now be sold through Abercrombie stores and online.