TIME Companies

Here’s Why Abercrombie & Fitch Is Ditching Its Logos

The retailer's earnings are falling as logos become less fashionable in North America

Abercrombie & Fitch was “the brand of the moment” a decade and a half ago. Sales of its preppy clothes had jumped into the billions, teens had ranked it as the sixth coolest brand, and its newly launched surfer-lifestyle line, Hollister Co., was an instant sensation. But now, with stores like H&M and Zara turning white tees into fashionable pieces, Abercrombie wants to win back its base.

The retailer reported its 10th straight decline in quarterly sales on Thursday, with net sales decreasing by 6% to $891 million, according to an earnings conference call. Shares dropped as much as 8.5% after the announcement.

CEO Mike Jeffries said in the announcement that while Abercrombie’s clothes have made “great progress” in evolving their fashion component, the company is now rolling up its sleeves to reduce its use of logos.

“In the spring season we are looking to take the North American logo business to practically nothing,” Jeffries said on the call.

Higher pricing at Abercrombie stores have kept customers back, according to the Chicago Tribune, as stores like Forever 21 are selling jeans for less than $10 while similar items at Abercrombie can go for $75. Jeffries said that Abercrombie has been cutting costs, which is allowing it to achieve lower prices, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The shedding of logos on most Abercrombie clothing is the company’s latest rebranding effort as it regains its footing from a over decade of bad publicity. Abercrombie settled for $50 million in 2004 after being sued for discrimination against racial minorities. Last year, quotes made by Jeffries during a 2006 interview resurfaced; he had said the brand targeted “cool, good-looking people,” a statement that generated heavy, even viral backlash. (And earlier this year, researchers suggested that its crowded, cologne-filled stores may actually cause anxiety.)

What’s next for Abercrombie? While the company has said it plans to close 60 stores this year after leases expire, Jeffries is hoping that Abercrombie’s back-to-school clothing line and logo-free options will allow it to escape the climate of declining popularity and earnings that is also being faced by rivals like American Eagle and Aéropostale.

“We are confident that the evolution of our assortment will drive further improvements going forward,” Jeffries said in the announcement. “We remain highly focused on returning to top-line growth and driving long-term value for our shareholders.”

TIME Companies

Apple Wins Patent for Its Glass Cube Store Design

Apple Wins Patent on Glass Cube Store Design
A general view of the glass cube facade of the Fifth Avenue Apple store in front of the Plaza Hotel on February 9, 2012 in New York City. Ben Hider—Getty Images

The 14-year patent will protect the building's "ornamental design"

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved Apple’s application this week to patent its iconic glass cube design at its flagship Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan.

Filed in 2012, the 14-year patent sanctions the “ornamental design” of the 32-foot cube, which underwent a $6.7 million remodeling in 2011 to achieve a cleaner look with 15 glass panels instead of 90, according to Apple Insider. Apple had applied in 2010 to trademark the “distinctive design of the building” but that has not yet been approved.

The glass staircases inside Apple Stores were also patented last year, according to documents published by the USPTO. Apple previously won a patent in 2012 for the glass cylinder design of its flagship store in Shanghai.

The cube was designed by several people including former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, according to the patent application. Jobs had reportedly paid for the construction of the glass cube himself and owned the structure.

TIME viral

Watch Stephen Hawking Do the Ice Bucket Challenge

+ READ ARTICLE

Physicist Stephen Hawking, who had pneumonia last year, said it “would not be wise for me to have a bucket of cold water poured over [him]” — referring to the viral fundraising effort in which people dump ice water over themselves or donate money to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) research. Instead, his children, Robert, Lucy and Tim, volunteered themselves as his proxies.

Hawking, who’s nearly totally paralyzed after being diagnosed with ALS at 21, urged everyone to donate to the Motor Neurone Disease Association to “eliminate this terrible disease.”

According to the ALS Association, the viral fundraising effort has raised about $95 million so far.

TIME Innovation

This Is What Europe’s Largest 3D Scanner Looks Like

The 115 sensors scan objects and print 3D figurines of them

In Prague, Czech Republic, a 3D scanner can produce a miniature sculpture of you with remarkable detail.

The largest in continental Europe, the device is designed to scan people, animals and objects, which are placed on a platform as 115 sensors take a 360 degree snapshot. The scanning process takes only five to 15 minutes, after which a computer creates and then 3D prints a figurine between 15 and 35cm tall of the scanned item.

The price of the device is six million Czech crowns ($284,208).

TIME Companies

Apple Fails Again to Ban Sales of Samsung Phones

Apple Samsung Patent
A Samsung and Apple smartphone are displayed in London on Aug. 6, 2014 Peter Macdiarmid—Getty Images

The latest in the Apple-Samsung patent war

A U.S. judge on Wednesday rejected Apple’s bid to permanently ban sales of some Samsung phones that had recently been found to infringe Apple patents.

What Apple pitched as a “narrowly tailed ban” on some older Samsung models was denied by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif., who had rejected Apple’s previous request to ban some U.S. Samsung sales in August of 2012, according to Bloomberg.

In its bid, Apple specifically identified certain features on nine of Samsung’s patent-infringing smartphones in order to give the South Korean firm a “sunset period” to alter those features, according to court documents.

But Apple’s latest court denial is perhaps its last as both parties have toned down their multiyear patent war. In late July, Apple dropped its appeal of the 2012 case while also announcing that its quarterly profits and smartphone sales had jumped up from the previous year’s, a suggestion that its iPhone sales went largely unaffected by any Samsung patent infringements. Most recently, both Apple and Samsung agreed earlier this month to drop patent disputes against each other outside the U.S.

TIME animals

Here’s The World’s Fastest Dog on Two Paws

His top speeds beat out how fast humans walk normally

+ READ ARTICLE

Jiff, performing pomeranian and Internet star, has set two world records – one for the fastest 10 meters on hind legs (6.56 seconds) and another for the fastest 5 meters on front paws (7.76 seconds) at an Illinois kennel in September, according to a Guinness World Records statement. That means the fluffy pom can literally walk at 3.4 miles per hour, slightly faster than the average walking speed of humans.

world-record-pomeranian-jiff
Guinness World Records

The dog will be featured in the Guinness World Records 2015 Edition, due out September 10, but Jiff has been quite the star for a while now. A social media sensation, the pom has appeared in the film Adventures of Bailey: A Night in Cowtown, the music video for Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” and a tweet from Ke$ha, who claimed Jiff was her “new boyfriend.”

And if Jiff’s credentials haven’t put you to shame yet, then ponder this: do you have an IMDB page?

Guinness World Records

But being the world’s fastest dog is only one trick in the Los Angeles pom’s repertoire. Jiff, whose owners have remained anonymous so that he gets all the attention, can also skateboard, stamp his autograph, cover his eyes and bow, among other moves. He’s known for his impromptu performances at the Santa Monica Pier and the Hollywood Walk of Fame—but if you can’t make it to one of those, there’s always his online trick demos.

TIME Food & Drink

Texas Brewery Unveils 99-Pack of Beer

99 Pack Beer
Helms Workshop

The 7-foot-long monster is all yours for $99.99

Don’t mess with Texas, especially when it comes to beer.

Austin Beerworks has partnered with Helms Workshop to launch “the world’s first and only 99-pack” of its Peacemaker Anytime Ale.

Moving it will take a few friends because the 99-pack is over 7 ft long (2.13 m) and weighs 82 pounds (37 kg), according to the brewery. Inside the box are three rows of 33 cans of the pale ale, which, if you drank them all, would amount to over 15,000 calories.

“What started out as a joke became very real when we realized how much people love the idea of 99 beers for $99.99!” Austin Beerworks co-founder Michael Graham said in a press release.

A limited supply of 99-packs are expected to hit selected stores this week.

“Good luck and remember,” the 99-pack creators warn on the website, “lift with your legs, not your back.”

 

TIME Aviation

Here’s What ‘Business Class’ Is Like on Europe’s Ultra-Cheap Budget Airline

Ryanair Launches Business Plus Business Class Service
A passenger passes self-service check-in machines Ryanair Holdings Plc at Stansted Airport in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013. Bloomberg via Getty Images

The low-cost carrier is launching its "Business Plus" service to break into the corporate travel market

Ryanair unveiled its new Business Plus class on Wednesday, a new service providing seating, check-in and luggage benefits as the traditionally no-frills, low-cost carrier attempts to expand its offerings in the business travel market.

Starting at £59.99 ($99.59), Business Plus tickets afford customers a free carry-on bag under 20kg, flexibility on ticket changes, expedited security check-ins and premium seating, according to RyanAir.

With premium seating, customers will be able to select seats from rows 1-5 (for fast de-boarding), rows 16-17 (for extra leg room) and rows 32-33 (for fast boarding), a Ryanair spokesperson told TIME. Other than their location on the plane, premium seats won’t be any different than standard seats, according to Financial Times: no new seats will be installed, no curtains will be drawn, and passengers will still pay for their food and drinks.

“What business travelers want has changed,” Ryanair’s chief marketing officer told FT. “It used to be about the lounge, free snacks and free drinks, but now customers want a reliable value-for-money service that gets you to your destination quicker, and to spend less time at the airport and more in meetings.”

With more than one-fourth of its customers traveling on business, Ryanair is the latest low-cost carrier attempting to demonstrate that low fares and comfort aren’t mutually exclusive. Ryanair unveiled its first TV ad in decades and an “Always Getting Better” PR campaign earlier this year in a move to shed its title as “worst” overall brand for customer service, while Spirit Airlines—known as the “Ryanair of the U.S.”—has taken a more radical approach to winning back customers.

 

TIME Food & Drink

These Colleges Are The Best Tippers and The Most Polite Customers

Getty Images

According to GrubHub

The food delivery website GrubHub has teamed up with Spoon University, a student-run food publication, to unwrap the mystery of college students’ takeout and delivery habits. Which colleges have the most late night orders? The best tippers and the most polite customers? Here are some highlights from the results, available on GrubHub’s blog.

Highest tip percentages:

  1. Virginia Tech
  2. University of Delaware
  3. University of Colorado
  4. Towson University
  5. University of Virginia

Highest percentage of orders with “please” or “thank you”:

  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. Yale University
  3. University of the Sciences
  4. Loyola University of Chicago
  5. The College of New Jersey

Most late-night orders:

  1. Syracuse University
  2. Michigan State University
  3. University of Connecticut
  4. Ithaca College
  5. The Ohio State University

Most health-conscious:

  1. Georgetown University
  2. University of Notre Dame
  3. University of Tennessee
  4. Lafayette College
  5. Central Connecticut State University

Most vegetarian diners:

  1. Cornell University
  2. Yale University
  3. School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  4. University of Chicago – Booth School of Business
  5. Columbia College

Most dessert orders:

  1. Regis University
  2. University of Texas
  3. University of Tennessee
  4. University of Illinois
  5. Virginia Commonwealth University

 

TIME Management

Steve Ballmer Steps Down From Microsoft Board

Steve Ballmer Steps Down From Microsoft Board
Owner of the Los Angeles Clippers Steve Ballmer looks on after being introduced for the first time during the Los Angeles Clippers Fan Festival at Staples Center on August 18, 2014. Jeff Gross—Getty Images

Ballmer said his new commitments, like owning the Clippers, make it "impractical" to continue serving on board

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Tuesday he has stepped down from the company’s board. Ballmer’s announcement came in a public letter addressed to the company’s current CEO, Satya Nadella.

Ballmer, who retired from the company’s helm in February but kept a seat on the board, cited the time commitments of his existing responsibilities—like owning the Los Angeles Clippers—as his primary reason for departure, which is effective immediately.

“In the six months since leaving, I have become very busy. I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time,” Ballmer wrote. “Given my confidence and the multitude of new commitments I am taking on now, I think it would be impractical for me to continue to serve on the board, and it is best for me to move off.”

Ballmer said he will remain Microsoft’s biggest individual shareholder, and encouraged his workplace of 34 years to move boldly “to monetization through enterprise subscriptions, hardware gross margins, and advertising revenues” while also continuing to manage Microsoft’s software business.

“I promise to support and encourage boldness by management in my role as a shareholder in any way I can,” Ballmer added.

Nadella penned a public response to Ballmer’s letter, thanking Ballmer for his support and wishing him well.

“As you embark on your new journey, I am sure that you will bring the same boldness, passion and impact to your new endeavors that you brought to Microsoft, and we wish you incredible success. I also look forward to partnering with you as a shareholder,” Nadella wrote. “On behalf of all of Microsoft and the Board of Directors, thank you.”

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46,436 other followers