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

By ABC News

May 15, 2013 9:47am

ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis reports:

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.

Protestors gathered outside the retailer’s Michigan Avenue store in Chicago 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.

MORE: Small Sizes an Overweight Distraction for Abercrombie & Fitch

Jeffries has not commented on the recent controversy but has been forthright in the 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 protestors 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.”

 

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