NEW YORK–Abercrombie & Fitch’s longtime and embattled CEO Michael Jeffries has abruptly retired as the once-hip teen clothing chain struggles to regain its popularity.
Investors applauded the move, pushing Abercrombie’s shares up 8 percent.
Jeffries, who has served as CEO since February 1992, is also retiring from the retailer’s board of directors.
He reinvented the chain from an ailing retailer of hunting apparel to a seller of teen clothing that became a must-have brand for young consumers. But since the recession, it has lost its appeal amid stiffer competition and changing tastes.
Last week, Abercrombie & Fitch cut its annual profit outlook and reported an 11.5 percent drop in sales in its third quarter.
Jeffries’ departure was expected, but BMO Capital Markets analyst John Morris noted that the timing was ��noteworthy�� given his employment contract didn’t expire until February.