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Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister are suffering from sinking social media data

2 weeks ago by Jared Russo in Earnings, Retail

Abercrombie & Fitch ($NYSE:ANF) and its Hollister line are struggling to maintain retail and fashion gravitas as young shoppers look to other brands. Evidence, as shown below, is found in the company's social traction which has been declining as people look to alternatives. Meanwhile, the company appears to be flooding its e-commerce channels with an over-abundance of products that could further erode product exclusivity.

The company will report earnings tomorrow, November 26, and according to Zacks Investment Research, based on analysts' forecasts, the consensus EPS forecast for the quarter is $0.25. We've written about them both before, once to talk about consumer attention declining, and once more to talk about a number of stores being closed across America.

Social media data

Both Abercrombie and Hollister have seen steady decreases in their Twitter followers, 15% over the last almost four years.

Most of the time when we chart Facebook Likes, they tend to just go up, since people click on a thing they like and just leave it be. This isn't the case with Hollister, which goes up and down like a roller coaster; that's very unusual, as it's evidence that Facebook users are actively clicking on "Unlike" buttons, the digital equivalent of turning one's back.

Hollister's Talking About Count (not listed here) and check-ins on Facebook are down, which shows that people are mentioning the brand less often in their status updates and not going to the stores (or at least, not saying as much on Facebook). Hollister's target demographic may not all be Facebook users for such a "hip" brand, but the numbers don't lie.

Instagram is where the kids spend their days now, and the one bright spot is that over the past three and a half years each account has added a million more followers. Since it's harder to link to products like crazy on Instagram, it's more about the general "feel" of the brand, instead of shoving every shirt on sale down your timeline's throat. But flooding the market might be a problem by itself.

Products, discounts, the stock, employee and stores data

One possible explanation is that there are simply too many things being sold at these stores. There are now, more than ever, more individual items to purchase via the brands' e-commerce channels, which might water down how special or exclusive each article of clothing is. With so many options, it might be too hard to care about anyone thing.

And since the discounts haven't been stellar, not really breaking 40% all that often, people might not be interested. E-commerce puts a dent into in-store sales, which makes it harder to post about it online, all of this is connected.

Both Hollister and Abercrombie have seen increases in hiring, especially over the holidays, while the stock tumbles.

For fun, here's every single store across the globe that might close down in a few years. Who knows! Not us.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jared Russo

Jared is an editor for Thinknum, and has been writing for more than a decade. He previously worked at AOL, Vice, Google, Dotdash, and Sirius XM.

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