Abercrombie and Fire
While other retailers have succumbed to incredible growth of online shopping, one store seems to be finding it’s footing, and it’s not one that you would expect.
Abercrombie & Fitch reported only a 1% loss in sales during the last quarter. Upon hearing the news, shares increased by 17% last week.
The surprisingly stable numbers are largely attributed to their California surfer-centric Hollister chain, which reported a 5% increase in sales.
Though most retailers are closing down stores at a faster rate than ever, Abercrombie has managed to compete with other popular clothing stores, like H&M along with the fiercest competitor of all, Amazon.
Going a new direction
Abercrombie decided to redefine their brand at the beginning of this year with the launch of a new store prototype. Gone are the shirtless man greeters, perfume clouds and awkwardly loud house music.
They want to make a more approachable atmosphere, which if you’ve ever even walked past an Abercrombie, seems the polar opposite of their earlier strategy.
To combat the convenience of online shopping, they decided to focus on what they can offer that a website cannot. The new store prototypes focus on improving the customer experience inside the store instead of simply boosting what they offer online.
One of the major changes they introduced is the “Fitting Room Suite.” They are going back to retail basics by offering a larger suite of fitting rooms where customers can privately try on clothes at the same time. The individual rooms will be divided and can be customized to create a comfortable atmosphere. Customers have control over the lights and sound and can even charge their phones.
Abercrombie is also stepping up their game when it comes to their employees. To turn their once intimidating stores into approachable atmospheres, they are expanding their training programs.
Not out of the woods yet
A prototype store is open in Ohio, with plans to have six more in the U.S. by the end of the year. Even with all of the changes, Abercrombie still faces an uphill battle, as do all retailers.
They have yet to define their brand. Without all their signature features, what makes Abercrombie any different from H&M?
Chick-fil-a stops donating to anti-LGBTQ orgs; can we eat hate nuggets now!?
(BUSINESS MARKETING) Boycotts, protests, and media coverage about the controversy may finally be making an impact as the company attempts to alter its reputation.
After years of controversy for its anti-LGBTQ policies and donations, Chick-Fil-A announced Monday that it would stop funding three faith-based organizations similarly known for their anti-LGBTQ activities. The chicken sandwich empire has donated millions to The Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Paul Anderson Youth Home, but from 2020 going forward, the chain will cease donations to these organizations.
Controversy over Chick-fil-A’s ethos exploded in 2012 when a Pennsylvania Chick-fil-A sponsored a Christian seminar promoting “traditional” marriage, and its CEO Dan Cathy made public comments opposing same-sex marriage. While these events brought Chick-fil-A’s homophobic politics to light, the chain had already, for years prior, been donating millions of dollars to organizations that either discriminate against or work explicitly to curtail the rights of LGBTQ people.
Some queers put down their sandwiches and joined a national boycott and protests, while others found tongue-in-cheek ways to process feeling guilty for continuing to enjoy waffle fries. At first the boycott backfired, with Governor Mike Huckabee hosting a Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, encouraging conservative chicken lovers to show up en masse to support the chain and deliver a proverbial middle finger to the LGBT community by ordering extra nuggets.
However, the boycotts, protests, and media coverage about the controversy may finally be making an impact as the company attempts to alter its reputation. Chick-fil-A president, Tim Tassopoulos noted that there have been numerous news stories about the chain’s politics, explaining that “as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are.” Attempts to expand into Europe hit a major setback when one of its two UK locations closed because the shopping center in which it was located took offense to Chick-fil-A’s anti-LGBTQ stance and decided not to renew the lease.
A spokeswoman told the Thomas Reuters Foundation that the company had fulfilled the “multi-year commitments” it made to Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and that now that their “obligations” were complete, they would focus their charitable giving elsewhere.
Future donations will go toward charities that focus on education and homelessness, such as Junior Achievement USA and Covenant House. Grants will be distributed and reviewed annually. LGBTQ activists are optimistic, but slightly skeptical of the change. GLAAD director of campaign and rapid response Drew Anderson called for “further transparency” regarding Chick-fil-A’s “deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families.”
Anderson further pointed out that Chick-fil-A has no non-discrimination policies protecting LGBTQ employees. The chain is also known for asking applicants about their religious and marital status in job interviews, making discrimination against non-Christian and LGBTQ applicants all too easy. Anderson called for Chick-fil-A to “unequivocally speak out against the anti-LGBTQ reputation that their brand represents.”
CEO Dan Cathy has been notoriously unapologetic for his homophobic views, expressing in 2014 that he regretted getting Chick-fil-A embroiled in controversy, but that his opinions about same-sex marriage had not changed.
While many are celebrating the withdrawal of funds towards certain anti-LGBTQ organizations, there’s no guarantee that more donations of this kind won’t be made in the future. So enjoy those hate nuggets with a large grain of salt.
Ford rolls out a weird electric SUV that is somehow also a Mustang
(BUSINESS NEWS) Ford’s new Mach E is part of their big electric push, and their plan to get you in one is to appeal to the American dream of a mustang.
What do you get when you cross a Mustang, Tesla and SUV? A traffic accident!
(Just kidding, bad joke; it’s the 2021 Ford Mach E, one of Ford’s 22 upcoming electric or hybrid vehicles. )
Since when has Ford been pushing for electric cars? Actually, it’s been a while, but Ford’s efforts have definitely increased since Jim Hackett took over as CEO of Ford Motors in 2017.
Hackett revitalized Ford’s mission and began pushing for a greater focus on electric and hybrid cars. In fact, Hackett even created an internal team – Team Edison – which oversaw the development of electric cars. The Ford Mach E is actually the first car to be unveiled.
One down, 21 to go.
Sure, the name Ford Mach E is pretty cool, but how cool can a sports car/SUV hybrid really be? It’s the first non-sports car to use the Mustang name, which is a bold move. Luckily, the Ford Mach E is slated to go 0 – 60 in under four seconds, which means it can keep up with other Mustangs and even go faster than some Porches. It also boasts around a 459 horsepower, which is higher than most SUVs on the market. Not half bad for an electric SUV.
Along with the battery – which will be able to last anywhere from 200 to 300 miles, depending on the unit – the Mach E is chock full of exciting new tech. For instance, it’ll boast hands-free driving assist technology comparable to Tesla’s.
It also includes a sleek interior, a large center screen and Ford’s new SYNC system, which will adjust entertainment customizations based on user preference.
This cloud-based system learns from drivers’ habits: if a driver typically stop for coffee in the morning, the system might automatically suggest routes to a coffee shop.
Kind of creepy, but also pretty neat.
The car is projected to hit the market in late 2020 and will be competing with other electric models from Tesla and Volkswagen.
Prices for the Ford Mach E will range from $43,000 to about $60,000, which is fairly comparable to other companies. With a $500 refundable deposit through the Ford website, individuals can place a reservation on one of these upcoming cars now.
Ageism: How to combat discrimination in the workplace
(BUSINESS) Ageism is still being fought by many companies, how can this new issue be resolved before it becomes more of a problem?
Google recently settled an age discrimination lawsuit to the tune of $11 million. The lawsuit from 2015 alleged that Google favored people under 40 for hiring. The federal case involved more than 200 parties. Part of the settlement requires Google to train managers on age bias in recruiting and hiring. There’s hope that the settlement will raise awareness in the tech industry, where ageism is thought to be pervasive.
IBM is also facing an age discrimination lawsuit alleging the company “systematically removed older employees from its workforce.” This lawsuit was filed in March in federal court in the Southern District of New York.
Both IBM and Google deny that there is any discrimination in hiring in their respective companies. IBM is confident that the case will fail. Google settled the case rather than fight it in court. The IBM case is still working its way through the system. It is highlighting ageism in tech, but the tech industry certainly isn’t the only one that seemingly discriminates against older workers.
Workers over the age of 55 represent the fasting growing sector in labor. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 25% of the labor force will be over age 55 by 2024. A 2018 AARP survey found that over 60% of the respondents reported age discrimination in their workplace. The figure is even higher among older women, minorities and unemployed seniors. Age discrimination is a problem for many.
How can your organization create an age-inclusive workforce?
It is difficult to prove age discrimination but fighting a lawsuit against it could be expensive. Rather than worrying about getting sued for age discrimination, consider your own business and whether your culture creates a workplace that welcomes older workers.
- Check your job descriptions and hiring practices to eliminate graduation dates and birthdates. Focus on worker’s skills, not youthful attributes, such as “fresh graduate” or “digital native.” Feature workers of all ages in your branding and marketing.
- Include age diversity training for your managers and employees, especially those that hire or work in recruiting.
- Support legislative reforms that protect older workers. Use your experience to create content for your website.
Changing the culture of your workplace to include older workers will benefit you in many ways. Older workers bring experience and ideas to the table that younger employees don’t have. Having mixed-age teams encourages creativity. There are many ways to support older workers and to be inclusive in your workplace.
What steps are you taking in your organization to reduce ageism in your workplace?
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