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Abercrombie kills racy catalog

By Parija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money Staff Writer

Some advocacy groups blasted Abercrombie for using images like this, saying it promotes sexual promiscuity.
Some advocacy groups blasted Abercrombie for using images like this, saying it promotes sexual promiscuity.

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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -- Apparel giant Abercrombie & Fitch, under fire from some consumer groups for its racy catalogs, said Tuesday it would stop issuing them and halt publication of its controversial holiday issue.

"While it has enjoyed success with the Quarterly over the years, the company believes it is time for new thinking and looks forward to unveiling an innovative and exciting campaign in the spring," Abercrombie said in a statement.

The retailer last week recalled the holiday catalog from all its stores, saying it needed the space on the counter for a new perfume. But one parents' advocacy group claimed the move was in response to its protests and calls for a boycott of Abercrombie over the catalogs.

The company's 280-page holiday book included nude young adult models in highly suggestive poses, as well as articles on sex -- elements apparently intended to boost the clothing retailer's brand among college-age customers.

Abercrombie said it has sold about 200,000 copies of each issue of the catalog.

But some industry analysts said the latest edition of the glossy publication may have offended too many people.

"I think their latest issue pushed the envelope too far," one analyst told CNN/Money. "The subject matter in this issue, specifically an article about oral sex, was way over the line," he said.

"We're certainly encouraged by the today's news," Bill Johnson, president of the American Decency Association, told CNN/Money.

"American people are making it clear that they were troubled over Abercrombie's practice of marketing pornography in the catalog and the company has finally recognized this fact."

The association is a consumer group that lobbies against pornography and has criticized Abercrombie's catalogs before.

New Albany, Ohio-based Abercrombie runs 173 of its namesake stores and 164 Hollister Co. stores around the country. It logged total sales of $1.6 billion in 2002, up 14 percent over the previous year.

Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch fell 30 cents to close at $24.37 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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