Abercrombie & Fitch Logo

  • E-commerce revenue grew year over year 41.3% to $352.5 million from $249.4 million in fiscal 2009.
  • Total sales increased year over year 18.5% to $3.46 billion from $2.92 billion.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 7%.


During the first half of the 20th century Abercrombie & Fitch Co. was the definitive store for America’s sporting elite, outfitting big-game hunters, fishermen, and other adventurers. After the chain went bankrupt in 1977, Oshman’s Sporting Goods revived the Abercrombie & Fitch name but shifted its focus to more contemporary sporting goods and a wider array of apparel for men and women. The Limited, Inc., after acquiring the company in 1988, eliminated sporting goods entirely.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. was founded in 1892 in New York City by David T. Abercrombie and Ezra H. Fitch. Abercrombie, a former prospector, miner, trapper, and railroad surveyor or engineer, owned a small shop and factory producing camping equipment in lower Manhattan. Fitch, one of his customers, was a successful lawyer in Kingston, New York, but the outdoors was his chief interest.

The partners were ill matched. Fitch was the visionary of the two, anticipating a clientele far broader than merely those who camped out in the course of earning a living. Furthermore, both men were hot-tempered. Following the latest of many long and violent arguments, Abercrombie resigned in 1907 to return to manufacturing camping equipment. Fitch continued with other partners. In 1909 he mailed out 50,000 copies of a 456-page catalogue. Since they cost a dollar each to produce, they almost bankrupted the company, but the subsequent flood of orders justified the expense. In 1917 Abercrombie & Fitch moved into a 12-story building on Madison Avenue at East 45th Street, a location the advertising department described as “Where the Blazed Trail Crosses the Boulevard.” It included a luxuriously furnished log cabin that Fitch made his town house, with an adjoining casting pool.

By this time Abercrombie & Fitch’s reputation as purveyor to the sporting elite already was well established. It had equipped Theodore Roosevelt for an African safari and also outfitted, or was soon going to outfit, polar expeditions led by Roald Amundsen and Admiral Richard Byrd and flights made by Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. Every president from Roosevelt to Gerald Ford eventually would buy something from the store.