Abercrombie Takes Shirt Off 'Jersey Shore' Backs

(Updated with a statement from MTV.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Abercrombie & Fitch ( ANF) wants The Jersey Shore to take T-shirt time -- the catch phrase of the cast for primping to party -- elsewhere.

The teen apparel retailer asked the cast of MTV's hit reality show to shop elsewhere for their T-shirts and jeans, offering Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and producers of the show money to stop wearing the brand. The company said it is also making offers to other members of the cast.

Abercrombie & Fitch said in a release that Sorrentino wearing its clothes is causing "significant damage" to the company's image, going against its "aspirational nature."

This appears to be a 180 for Abercrombie & Fitch, who attempted to capitalize on The Jersey Shore last summer with "The Fitchuation" T-shirts.

MTV, a division of Viacom, issued a statement regarding the retailer's distaste for its popular reality series: "It's a clever PR stunt and we'd love to work with them on other ways they can leverage Jersey Shore to reach the largest youth audience on television."

This comes as Abercrombie reports another quarter of impressive earnings results ahead of the all-important back-to-school season.

"After reviewing Abercrombie & Fitch's second-quarter results initially, management may be correct in asking (and offering to pay) the cast of Jersey Shore to stop donning its logo-wear," Wall Street Strategies analyst Brian Sozzi wrote in a note. "It doesn't need the infusion of MTV and side job dollars from the Jersey Shore crew, if second quarter was any indication. All Abercrombie & Fitch has to do is continue to deliver its classic prep look (this stuff sure resembles the threads in the stores 10 years ago) with a now refined twist to the U.S. and very receptive international customer, and give a fist pump to the Street that more domestic store closures are in the offing to make the stock work."

But in an effort to disassociate with the brand, Abercrombie & Fitch may in fact get even more media attention. "In the near term, we believe this will certainly drum up some excitement and talk about the brand, which doesn't hurt as they are about to open 40 plus stores overseas in the second-half of 2011," Nomura analyst Paul Lejuez wrote in a note.

-Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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