As Abercrombie & Fitch Co. works to right its slumped sales and revamp its namesake brand's identity, the company is also getting an executive overhaul. On Tuesday, the retailer announced the departure of Abercrombie & Fitch brand President Christos Angelides and the promotion of Fran Horowitz, who was hired as president of Hollister at the same time as Angelides in Oct. 2014, to a newly created dual role. Effective immediately, Horowitz will serve as president and chief merchandising officer of the company as a whole, reporting to Executive Chairman Arthur Martinez.
"Fran's merchandising skills and her exceptional leadership, which has inspired associates to focus all their efforts on an intense understanding and commitment to our customers, has ignited a turnaround at our Hollister brand," said Martinez in a statement. "This promotion provides Fran the opportunity to play an even greater role in our future success as we focus on building shareholder value by positioning each of our brands for sustainable growth."
Martinez makes a point. Under Horowitz's lead, Hollister's sales have steadily improved in recent quarters, moving back into positive growth more quickly than Abercrombie & Fitch's have. In the third quarter of the year, Hollister's sales grew 3 percent compared to the same time last year, having been down 1 percent the previous quarter. Abercrombie sales, on the other hand, were down by 5 percent at the end of the third quarter.
In her role leading both Abercrombie and Hollister, Horowitz will be responsible for, well, a lot: Merchandising, design, planning, marketing, stores, inventory management and anything else that consumers lay their eyes on. Her role as president, however, is only temporary, as the company still plans to hire presidents for each brand — and whomever gets the job will report to Horowitz.