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Abercrombie kills its racy catalog
Retailer bows to public pressure and puts the book on ice; set to announce new spring campaign.
December 10, 2003: 2:43 PM EST
By Parija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money Staff Writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Abercrombie & Fitch, under fire from some consumer groups for its racy catalogs, said it would stop issuing them and halt publication of its holiday issue.

"While it has enjoyed success with the Quarterly over the years, the company believes it is time for new thinking and looks forward to unveiling an innovative and exciting campaign in the spring," Abercrombie said in a statement Tuesday.

The retailer last week recalled the holiday catalog from all its stores, saying it needed the space on the counter for a new perfume. But one parents' advocacy group claimed the move was in response to its protests and calls for a boycott of Abercrombie over the catalogs.

Advocacy groups blasted Abercrombie for featuring pictures such as this in its 2003 holiday catalog, saying it promotes sexual promiscuity.  
Advocacy groups blasted Abercrombie for featuring pictures such as this in its 2003 holiday catalog, saying it promotes sexual promiscuity.

The company's 280-page holiday book included nude young adult models in highly suggestive poses, as well as articles on sex -- elements apparently intended to boost the clothing retailer's brand among college-age customers.

Abercrombie said it has sold about 200,000 copies of each issue of the catalog.

But some industry analysts said the latest edition of the glossy publication may have offended too many people.

"I think their latest issue pushed the envelope too far," one analyst told CNN/Money. "The subject matter in this issue, specifically an article about oral sex, was way over the line," he said.

"We're certainly encouraged by today's news," Bill Johnson, president of the American Decency Association, told CNN/Money.

"American people are making it clear that they were troubled over Abercrombie's practice of marketing pornography in the catalog and the company has finally recognized this fact."

The association is a consumer group that lobbies against pornography and has criticized Abercrombie's catalogs before.

New Albany, Ohio-based Abercrombie runs 357 of its namesake stores, 173 Abercrombie stores for kids, and 164 Hollister Co. stores around the country. It logged total sales of $1.6 billion in 2002, up 14 percent over the previous year.

Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF: Research, Estimates) fell 30 cents to close at $24.37 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.  Top of page

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