Hollister Keeps Shoppers in the Dark
Who knew that there was an opportunity to make money by saving money (on electricity)? Abercrombie & Fitch’s subsidiary, Hollister, is keeping British shoppers in the dark by turning lights so low that customers can’t see sizes, prices, the cash register or even “the point,” according to The Daily Telegraph following a visit to a branch in Birmingham.
Like its American branches, Hollister offers “casual separates influenced by the lifestyle of the Californian coast” to a teenaged audience.
Self-styled Queen of Shops, Mary Portas, raved about a newly opened branch in London back in 2009, the paper says in a separate article. Describing “pulsing music and a gentle aroma that lingers in the doorway” as the key draws, Ms. Portas decided a long line waiting to enter a mere hour after opening demonstrated “that something special had caught the shoppers’ imagination.”
While noting Abercrombie’s “signature mood lighting,” she somehow manages to decide the clothes are “brilliantly merchandised” and admires the surfing spirit of the sales area. Selling sex and feeling sexy, with “a playful sign” suggesting that clothing in the changing area is optional, are apparently fine for a young audience while the emotional reward of this “world class retailing” experience is worth the cost of whatever is purchased.
Somewhat less enthusiastic were Facebook discussions found through Google. Also dating back a bit, one, titled, “Hollister stores, your dim lighting doesn’t make me buy anything from you,” had 198 likes while “Why are the lights dark in Hollister, is it so I can’t see the price?” attracted 5,929.
The Telegraph was unable to get a comment from Hollister’s spokesperson, but claims an employee explained, “It creates an atmosphere that allows you to come in and hang out while finding some cool clothes. It gives a type of casino-feel, where people can get lost in a club-like environment, people relax, and hopefully spend more.” This may not be the case for youngsters needing parental funding as two mothers quoted were less than enthusiastic about the ambiance. Perhaps people spend more if (or because) they don’t know how much they’re paying until they see the light.
Hollister’s sister chain, Abercrombie & Fitch, has also earned a reputation for keeping its lights inordinately low.
- Shoppers left baffled by Hollister store’s dim lighting policy – The Telegraph
- Mary Portas views Hollister at Westfield shopping centre – The Telegraph
- Hollister stores, your dim lighting doesn’t make me buy anything from you – Facebook
- Why are the lights dark in Hollister, is it so I can’t see the Price? – Facebook
- Abercrombie and Hollister: Why DO teen clothing chains keep shoppers in the dark? – Daily Mail
Discussion Questions: What are the pros and cons of low lighting techniques used by teen chains like Hollister? Can other teen and apparel stores benefit from creating a similar ambiance?