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Abercrombie & Fitch Doesn’t Want Large Women in Their Stores — Is It Fair?

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Fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is coming under fire for its decision not to stock XL or XXL sizes for women, ostensibly because they don’t want that type of buyer in their stores.

Last week Robin Lewis, CEO of the Robin Report and co-author of ‘The New Rules of Retail,’ said in an interview with Business Insider that A&F CEO Mike Jeffries has made this policy—the deliberate exclusion of larger women—a central part of his business operations.

“He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store. He wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis said. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing.”

Much of what Lewis said is backed up by an interview Jeffries gave to Salon back in 2006.

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” Jeffries said. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. … A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

As Business Insider points out, some of A&F’s competitors cater to just those groups that Jeffries disdains. H&M recently began using a plus-size model for its swimwear collection, and they offer larger women’s sizes, as does American Eagle.

But that does not appear to have swayed Jeffries. “Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny,” he said. “But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”

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