Abercrombie & Fitch seems to be in a race with fellow retailer American Apparel for worst ways to treat employees. It has been reported that staff employed by the U.S. clothing label were forced to carry out military-style exercises while at work. According to a company email, employees from an Italian store were told to perform a short workout if they failed to greet customers correctly.
According to The Daily Mail, male employees at the Milan flagship had to carry out ten push-ups, while women who failed to measure up were given 10 squats. A manager at the store reassured that the punishment would ‘bring about a great result – we will learn from our mistakes.’ Ummm, is this guy the coach from Iceland in D2: The Mighty Ducks?
Union leaders have now called for action. Graziella Carneri from CGIL, Italy’s largest union said: ‘If this is the American model, then we have little to learn from them. A spokesperson for the label said: ‘We have conducted an internal investigation into this matter, and it appears that the reference to push-ups and squats was a clearly misguided attempt at team-building by an isolated Loss Prevention manager in one of our Flagship stores.
We get that the store likes to have their sales people be good-looking and in shape, but seriously? Is this the set of Ally McBeal
in 1997? However, Abercrombie obviously believes that the better their employees look the more selling power they have. However, their definition of “better” is a shallow and constricted one. If you look up Abercrombie law suits on Google there is story after story about employee discrimination.
There is even an entire web site dedicated to these cases.
Clearly this is taking a toll on the business as has been closing U.S. stores for a while now, with 135 shuttered in the past two years. The retailer will close at least 180 more underperforming stores through 2015 as their leases expire. However it does do a lot of international business.