Will consumers buy a new vision for Abercrombie & Fitch?
Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) has been struggling for years. The specialty clothing retailer’s management is counting on a new store concept to help get its business turned around.
The chain will open its new format store next week at the Polaris Fashion Mall in Columbus, OH. The 4,860-square-foot store represents the first new concept for the chain in more than 15 years. The store will be one of seven new format locations that Abercrombie & Fitch will open this year.
“It is important that our stores reflect what the Abercrombie & Fitch brand is today, so we’ve created a new space for our customers that is warm, inviting, inclusive and open. We are excited for customers old and new to rediscover what is at the core of this American Heritage brand: timeless, high-quality clothing that you want to live in,” said Stacia Andersen, brand president of Abercrombie & Fitch and abercrombie kids.
The storefront will be “transparent,” according to the company, and display a sculpture of an Abercrombie & Fitch logo first used in the early 1900s. The new format features two shops-within-the-store — one for fragrances and the other dedicated to denim.
The new layout is also intended to promote Abercrombie & Fitch’s omnichannel capabilities. Associates will be trained to help shoppers place and pick up online orders in the store. “Cash wraps” will be located throughout the store to make it easier for customers to check out.
The chain describes its new fitting rooms as “havens” made up of two individual “capsules” set within a private suite. The idea is to make it easier for a customer to try on clothes and let a friend or family member see while maintaining privacy. Each suite comes with a phone charger dock as well as separate controls for lights and music.
Last week, Abercrombie & Fitch announced it had named its president and chief merchandising officer, Fran Horowitz, as its first new chief executive since longtime CEO Michael Jeffries retired in 2014.
- Abercrombie & Fitch Unveils New Store Concept – Abercrombie & Fitch
- Here’s the fitting room where you can bring a friend – USA Today
- Abercrombie & Fitch names merchandising head as new CEO – Reuters/CNBC
- Why Abercrombie & Fitch Earnings Fell Flat – 24/7 Wall. St.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will a new store format fix what ails Abercrombie & Fitch? What new features in the store do you think are most or least likely to resonate with the chain’s customers?