Although the stores will still be called Abercrombie & Fitch, the design is intended to replicate a chic hotel lobby, and the merchandise mix is curated to appeal to the varied needs of a 25- to 35-year-old customer.
The first two stores will open outside Milan in the Il Centro Shopping Center, and at Los Angeles’ Del Amo Fashion Center. They will be approximately 4,500 square feet and carry men’s and womenswear.
“We want to make every day feel like the start of a long weekend and offer an assortment that meets those needs,” said Carey Krug, senior vice president and head of marketing for the New Albany, Ohio-based retailer.
So the mix will include apparel and accessories appropriate for working out, wearing to the office, heading for drinks after 5 p.m. or to a friend’s wedding. The assortment will address “all activities in the life of the customer for their weekend itinerary,” Krug said, and will include pieces from the company’s Best Dressed Guest wedding-skewed assortment and Your Personal Best activewear collection.
“This is the concept of Getaway and we’re bringing it to life in a physical experience,” Krug said.
The stores will feature elevated fixtures and furnishings, wood accent walls and distinct spaces dedicated to each of the categories.
“We translated our customers’ mindset into a real-world immersive experience,” said Joanna Ewing, group vice president and head of creative for A&F. “Their love for our denim manifested in a dedicated denim studio. The fitting rooms have been optimized with customizable lighting and chic design elements. Their affinity for travel is captured in the store’s hotel lobby-like vibe, complete with a check-in desk. The entire design of these new stores is the unique getaway mindset of our customers brought to life in a way that communicates elevated ease, which is exactly what Abercrombie represents.”
The assortment is targeted to a Millennial as well as a Zillennial, which Krug described as a shopper who is out in the workforce and living on their own. “Someone in their mid-20s is our sweet spot,” she said.
The stores will be marketed though the company’s social channels, including TikTok, where it has a strong presence, Krug added.
A&F has more than 300 stores globally in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Asia-Pacific regions. The locations of the first two Getaway stores were chosen because the company was able to find the right real estate opportunities and they also represented cities where the brand has a “highly penetrated digital experience,” Krug said.
She said if the concept is successful, the company will open “a slate of others” around the country and world. She declined to provide a projected number or a timetable, saying the public company is in a quiet period in advance of the release of its second-quarter results on Aug. 25.
“We’re going to see how the customer reacts, but we’re very optimistic,” she said. “Abercrombie’s young Millennial and Zillennial customers continue to utilize our stores for a variety of needs — whether it’s discovering new products and trends, picking up online orders, connecting with friends virtually or IRL, figuring out their best fit, or simply enjoying the brand experience. Everything from the flow and design elements to the functionality of the spaces was architected to reflect our customer’s ideal experience, whether they’re visiting for a transformative, curated shopping experience or utilizing the store’s omni-hub capabilities.”
Over the past four years, A&F has worked to restructure its retail footprint, opening smaller, neighborhood stores and enhancing its online presence. At the company’s investors’ day conference in June, management laid out its goals to reach $4.1 billion to $4.3 billion in revenues and an operating margin of at least 8 percent by the end of 2025, compared to last year’s $3.7 billion in revenues, and operating margin of 1.2 percent in the red in the first quarter of this year. In addition, it is targeting $5 billion in annual sales and compounded annual sales growth of 3 to 5 percent by the end of fiscal 2025.