Abercrombie & Fitch drops its 'good-looking' rule for new sales hires

Ohio - From Friday, sales clerk hopefuls will no longer need to be "good-looking" in order to work for the American fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch.

News agency Bloomberg reported on the changes at the company, which pioneered the "sexy preppy look" and is known for its large billboards of male models with washboard abs. By getting rid of the hiring rule that imposed the need for attractiveness, Abercrombie is also dismantling the legacy left by former chief executive Mike Jeffries, who left the company in December last year.

Christos Angelides, president of the company's Abercrombie brand, was reported as saying: "We've put the customer at the center of the business." Angelides, along with Hollister brand head Fran Horowitz, are among the internal candidates for the top job.

Other changes are in the works: clerks will be referred to as brand representatives and not models. The notorious "Look Policy" previously prohibited French manicures and moustaches; staff still cannot wear extreme makeup or jewellery, but the rules are generally gentler.

Former CEO Jeffries transformed Abercrombie into an international brand during his 22 years at the helm. The retailer currently has 965 stores in more than 20 countries, including Singapore. But his style of management was increasingly called into question as sales fell, including his 40-page manual dictating his staff's behaviour. Abercrombie's profits decreased by 5.1 per cent in 2014.

Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Ramsden was quoted as saying: "Inevitably, there's still some people wondering what's going to happen... Things are running along - there's a clear sense of what needs to be done."

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