Abercrombie and Fitch's Manhattan flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York.
Photograph by Craig Warga — Bloomberg/Getty Images
By Lucinda Shen
May 9, 2016

The company once known for its sexualized advertising and accused of discrimination against a Muslim job applicant is now moving deeper into the Middle East.

Abercrombie and Fitch (anf), which already has stores in Kuwait and Dubai, plans to now expand into Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman in partnership with Majid Al Futtaim Fashion—a company which operates with several prominent Western brands to bring stores to the Middle East.

“We expect there to be strong demand for our brands in these new markets,” said Arthur Martinez, CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch in a Monday press release. International markets represented about 35% of Abercrombie’s sales in 2015.

Abercrombie & Fitch has been struggling in the past few years as a result of its exclusive image and missteps under the direction of former CEO, Mike Jeffries . The company has weathered 10 straight quarters of sales declines, and has tried in recent months to shed its image by toning down sexualized advertising, creating trendier clothing, and emphasizing diversity.

 

The company, also once known for its topless models, has also been trying to expand into international markets such as the Middle East and China.

“The Abercrombie and Fitch store, environment, and teams will be respectful to the culture of the region and its sensitivities, whilst maintaining the brands values and identity,” Asil Attar, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Fashion, said in an interview with Gulf News, a UAE news site in 2013, when Abercrombie first announced its shop in Dubai.

 

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