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Abercrombie CEO Michael Jeffries Retires, Leaves Board Immediately

The longtime head of specialty retailer Abercrombie and Fitch says he's leaving. The departure of Michael Jeffries comes as A & F struggles to regain customer loyalty. After Jeffries abrupt retirement and departure from the the company's board, stock prices for Abercrombie and Fitch rose more than 6 percent. Westerville corporate analyst Eleanor Bloxham, founder of the Value Alliance, says Abercrombie has recently struggled to attract more teen-aged buyers. "And I think the new board members have probably taken a look and said that he's had a great run but it's time to make some changes," says Bloxham. Abercrombie's stock remains near its 52 week low as the company reported what it called "disappointing" earnings last week. Bloxham says A & F's leadership changes indicate impatience among investors and has little to do with controversial comments by Jeffries that re-surfaced last year. "It more has to do with slipping sales and with the need for new governance at the company and the need for succession. In the last few months we have seen so many CEO's step down," Bloxham says. Abercrombie says it will now begin a search for a new Chief Executive.