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The End of the Road for Abercrombie?

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Abercrombie & Fitch’s Big Rebrand Wasn’t Enough

This year has not been kind to American mall brands, with store closures, layoffs, and bankruptcy among the various wounds that retailers have incurred in the last few months. Here’s the latest:

Abercrombie & Fitch: Once a favorite of Cool Teens with cash to burn, Abercrombie has been struggling the last few years, and yesterday confirmed that it’s exploring the possibility of a takeover. It feels like weird timing for a deal because the chain has done a lot to overhaul its image and stores recently — more than a few Racked staffers have been impressed with its new collections — but the trouble with a rebranding is that it takes time to register and resonate with shoppers. That’s time Abercrombie just doesn’t have, apparently.

Macy’s: The department store is trying to “stabilize” its brick-and-mortar business through store closures, but it’s still not hitting home with customers. Macy’s said today that its sales for the first quarter of 2017 dropped to $5.33 billion from $5.77 billion last year.

Sears: The CEO of Sears, which has not turned a profit in six years, blamed the media for his company’s troubles at a shareholder meeting yesterday, Reuters reports. I’m just going to quote directly here:

The bulk of Lampert's 90-minute appearance focused on news coverage, which he said had been "deliberately unfair."

Media coverage was "meant to scare our vendors" who then tried to negotiate better terms with the company.

"It's irresponsible and it's been irresponsible for too damn long. We're just looking for a fair chance," Lampert said of the media. "Excuse my rant but a lot of what we're doing deserves a chance to see the light of day."

Five journalists in attendance were not allowed to speak with Lampert or ask questions.

Sounds familiar. —Eliza Brooke, senior reporter

Deal of the Day

Shoppies got you wary of adding to your carts these days? Even if you’ve been extra spend-y lately, you can still indulge in BaubleBar’s escalating deal right now: Take 20% off one item with the code SAVE20, 25% off two with SAVE25, and 30% off three or more with SAVE30. The jewelry site is particularly good for dipping your toes in fun trends like stackable rings, lariat-style necklaces, and punchy ear jackets; if you buy all three of these (which, spoiler, go nicely together), it’ll only cost you $71.40, and shipping is free.

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Ethical Shopping Is Nearly Impossible
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Last month marked the four-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse that killed 1,138 garment workers and injured nearly 2,600. The news grabbed headlines, tugged heartstrings, and inspired outrage. Then most of us forgot about it, with the Today show reporting on the tragedy and only a few months later promoting the same brands that had been pulled from the rubble.

In an informal survey, I found few people who could tell me what Rana Plaza was or what happened there, but every American clearly remembered the 2012 Chick-fil-A controversy, when company president Dan Cathy spoke against gay marriage. While it's easy to find people who still boycott Chick-fil-A five years later, or who cut meat out of their diet for ethical reasons, or who recycle religiously, it's harder to meet anyone who has successfully boycotted major clothing retailers because of their manufacturing processes.

Why is that? It’s not like there aren’t enough news stories and investigative reports that unveil the uncomfortable truth about some of our favorite brands. No boycott or lifestyle change is entirely effortless, but how come it’s so easy to find people who boycott companies like Stripes, a gas station that supports the Dakota access pipeline, and Hobby Lobby, a craft store with discriminatory practices, but not H&M for its employment of child laborers?

As it turns out, ethical shopping is even more complicated, and difficult, than you might assume.

Keep reading >>
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20 Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts That Will Definitely Get There on Time
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In a perfect world, you would have read our Mother’s Day gifting story last week, found something you liked, and already have it gift-wrapped and ready to hand off to your mom this weekend. But in the very real case that things didn’t play out so smoothly, we’re here to remind you that Amazon Prime exists and has your back.

Based on the fact that more than half of all American households have Prime memberships, you’re probably already familiar with the two-day (and sometimes same-day) shipping service. But you might not have realized that those shipping perks also apply to Shopbop.com, because it's owned by the same company. TL;DR: If you have Prime (or are willing to sign up), then you still have time to find the mom(s) in your life the perfect gift without it looking like a last-minute scramble.

To save you the time and help you navigate the overwhelming selection on both sites — there’s definitely a lot of crap to wade through — we’ve pulled together more than a dozen gifts that’ll both make your mom happy and help you retain golden child status.

(P.S.: If you happen to share your Amazon Prime account with your family, be sure to delete your history.)

See all our last-minute gift ideas >>
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