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MILAN — Move over H&M — the opening of the Abercrombie & Fitch store here Thursday drew a crowd of girls with their moms, teens, university students and young men and women taking a day off from work. At 10 a.m. sharp, they all surged into Abercrombie & Fitch’s second European store, after London, as the doors opened.

This story first appeared in the October 30, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We are really proud to open a store here in Italy, especially in a fashion capital like Milan,” said a spokeswoman for Abercrombie & Fitch.

Strong sellers on opening day included colorful hoodies and sweatshirts, checkered button-down shirts and jeans.

“I think it’s the best store in Italy,” said Diego Imperiale, project manager for the real estate agency that owns Palazzo Ferrania, where the store is located. “Only a brand like Abercrombie & Fitch, which represents an entire lifestyle, can have a store without a sign or shop windows.”

Customer reaction was also enthusiastic. “The store is really beautiful. I was waiting for this opening since the first time I entered an Abercrombie & Fitch store in the States,” said Tea, a 16-year-old student from Milan.

Some flocked from other parts of Italy, like 17-year-old Francesca, who took a train from Florence with some friends very early in the morning to attend the opening. “I immediately organized this trip to Milan when I read the news in the paper,” she said. “I skipped school today, but it’s worth it….The store is huge, the clothes are great and the models are so hot.”

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