Abercrombie & Fitch is once again finding itself hated.
Once the purveyor of clunky cargo shorts and moose-embossed hoodies, the brand’s declining fortunes took another hit in a new survey that ranked it the most-hated retailer in the U.S. last year, scoring a 65 in a new American Customer Satisfaction Index, which measures people’s happiness with brands.
That’s an inauspicious start for Abercrombie, considering it’s the first year the brand has been included in the survey. Abercrombie declined to comment.
The retailer’s dismal score even surprised ACSI’s director of research, Forrest Morgeson, who told CNNMoney that the firm usually sees low rankings go to mega chains with monopoly power, like Walmart.
“Abercrombie and Fitch is not that; they aren’t that large, and this can spell serious trouble for the company,” he said.
Abercrombie is in a midst of makeover since it booted its former controversial CEO Mike Jeffries in 2014. The brand has since ditched its shirtless models (as seen above from a Facebook image posted in 2012), cut prices and stopped putting its logo all over its clothes. Instead, the retailer is focusing its efforts on mobile and designing less-preppy clothing.
If there’s a bright spot for Abercrombie, the survey saw overall satisfaction with retailers fall for the second time in a row, to 74.8. The survey’s authors suggested the country’s continuing economic recovery was at play, as retailers are focusing less on good customer service because they don’t need to fight as hard to get shoppers.
For what it’s worth, Costco is the most-liked retailer with a score of 81, down four points from 2014.
Update 2/26: Abercrombie issued this response from Abercrombie’s CMO Fran Horowitz:
“Over the last year, we have placed an intense focus on putting the customer at the center of everything we do, and our consumers are responding to this. The data we have from our consumers tells us they are positive on our brands, on our new offerings, and on the work we have done to improve the shopping experience. We are confident that we will continue to improve the customer experience over the coming year.”
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