US clothing giant Abercrombie & Fitch has agreed to pay $50 million to settle claims that it discriminated against minority staff.

The retailer has also told to work harder to recruit and promote members from those groups and more effectively train its store managers in anti-discrimination practices.

It will be required to hire 25 recruiters to find minority employees, and marketing strategy will be amended to include pictures of members of ethnic minorities in its posters, catalogues and shopping bags.

Under the terms of the settlement, $40 million will be divided among the employees, would-be employees and minority job candidates who took out the class-action lawsuits after being sacked or refused sales jobs on the basis of race.

The company will pay a further $10 million in attorneys' fees and court costs.

Susan Illston, the US District Court Judge, said that Abercrombie must promote diversity among its workforce and prevent discrimination.

Ohio-based Abercrombie denied any discrimination. "We have, and always have had, no tolerance for discrimination," the firm said in a statement.

"We decided to settle this suit because we felt that a long, drawn-out dispute would have been harmful to the company and distracting to management."