Abercrombie & Fitch is opening smaller stores and says it will continue to shrink the size of many of its existing spaces, having learned that its larger shops do not bring in larger sales.
The retailer says it will redo 85 stores this year, including some of its Hollister shops, having shrunk 70 last year, according to CNBC. Abercrombie & Fitch also plans to brighten up its stores, abandoning a strategy of keeping them dark. This will involve either shrinking a store, closing one to open another nearby, or opening one in a new market, the retailer says.
“What we’ve learned from the consumer is [that] they are really enjoying the smaller spaces,” CEO Fran Horowitz told CNBC. “There is a more intimate feel to it. ... And the customer likes that one-on-one interaction.”
“[Mall owners] appreciate we are making these investments. They are important to us. We are important to them”
The retailer will shut three flagships: a Hollister in New York City, and two Abercrombies — one in Milan and one in Tokyo. The company is also testing new markets through pop-up stores, as it did recently at Roosevelt Field Mall, in Garden City, N.Y., says CNBC.
Abercrombie & Fitch will thus end the year with more stores in operation than it had in 2018, though at less square footage. Other changes include introducing click-and-collect options at its stores, enabling customers to order merchandise online for pickup at the store.
“[Mall owners] appreciate we are making these investments,” Horowitz told CNBC. “They are important to us. We are important to them.”
By Edmund Mander