Photo (cc) by striatic
Americans really hate Walmart. But there’s one retailer Americans detest even more – Abercrombie & Fitch.
In its debut on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the clothing chain not only earned the lowest score among 22 specialty retailers in 2015, it also placed dead last for across all categories in the entire retail industry. Even Walmart — which has ranked the lowest among department and discount stores for nearly a decade — scored higher, earning 66 points.
And it gets worse. According to About.com, Abercrombie’s customer satisfaction score is reportedly the lowest in the 22-year history of the ACSI.
After Abercrombie’s highly controversial CEO Mike Jeffries left in late 2014, the company has been working to rebrand itself. But its ranking on the ACSI doesn’t bode well for the retailer — at 65, the score is 10 points behind the entire sector’s overall score.
“Normally when we see that kind of a gap, it’s a company so large it has monopoly power like, Walmart or McDonalds,” Forrest Morgeson, ACSI’s director of research, told CNN Money. “Abercrombie and Fitch is not that, they aren’t that large … this can spell serious trouble for the company.”
Abercrombie & Fitch, which was founded in 1892 as an elite outfitter of sporting and excursion goods and made the shift to upscale casual clothing for young people in the 1980s, said it will continue to focus on a turnaround for the brand.
“The data we have from our consumers tells us they are positive on our brands, on our new offerings, and on the work we have done to improve the shopping experience,” Fran Horowitz, president and chief merchandising officer for Abercrombie, said in a statement. “We are confident that we will continue to improve the customer experience over the coming year.”
Abercrombie has closed one-third of its stores since 2010, and has plans to shutter 60 more this year, Buzzfeed reports, adding that the chain is working to cut back on highly sexualized marketing and make the stores friendlier.
Overall, the ACSI found that retail customer satisfaction dropped for the second consecutive year in 2015, although the overall score is in line with the long-term average for retail.
“Customer satisfaction with retail has been higher than its historical norm over the past few years as the economy slowly emerged from the Great Recession,” said Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and chairman, in a statement. “This was because it was a tough environment to compete in. Job security for customer service personnel was hard to come by and everybody was trying harder to please customers. As both job security and employee turnover have increased, the level of customer service seems to have worsened.”
Retailers who earned high scores on the survey include Nordstrom, Costco, Amazon and Wegmans.
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