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Abercrombie & Fitch's share price is down more than 20% today. The plunge has been triggered by its announcement that it's no longer trying to sell itself. But it's also another reflection of the misery in brick-and-mortar retail.
This is a brand that until recently was fantastically popular with teens. But then it was struck by the brutal ephemeralness of fads, along with the decline of mall traffic. Among brick-and-mortar retailers in general, clothing merchandisers have been having among the worst trouble, short of the outright apocalypse facing big department stores (like Sears, which said Friday that it's closing 43 more stores, on top of the 150 stores it already planned to shutter, per the Wall Street Journal's Justina Vasquez.).
Bottom line: There is no easy answer for Abercrombie, which says it will now go it alone but ultimately may be faced again with the hard choice of finding a suitor.