The Abercrombie & Fitch store prototype in Columbus, Ohio.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. will reenter the Hong Kong market by the end of this year.

The specialty apparel retailer has signed a lease with Wharf Holdings to open an Abercrombie & Fitch store at Wharf’s flagship property, Harbour City. Harbour is the largest mall in Hong Kong — it includes shopping, dining, entertainment and sightseeing — and has more than 80 million visitors a year.

The Harbour City site will be Abercrombie’s first overseas store to incorporate its updated retail prototype for the Abercrombie & Fitch brand. The first concept store was opened earlier this year at the Polaris Fashion Mall in Columbus, Ohio.

The company has learned from refreshing its Hollister brand’s store concept that it can improve productivity through brand engagement and conversion, even though the newer stores have smaller footprints.

The Polaris site is 4,860 square feet, and while there are fewer stockkeeping units, the smaller space also provides the store with a boutique ambience. The store at Harbour City is about 6,800 square feet, and is designed with facilities on site that allows for both brand engagement and encourages product trial. According to a spokeswoman, the new Hong Kong store is “significantly smaller” than the one the company vacated earlier this year on Pedder Street in the business district known as Central. That store, opened in 2011, had three floors and a basement.

As for learnings from its Polaris test site, a spokeswoman said the company has upped the number of fitting rooms for its Hong Kong store. It will have gender-neutral fitting rooms in a setup where there will be 3 individual spaces and 3 “suite-style” rooms. The latter format allows for sharing looks with a friend or family member, and each suite has amenities such as separate controls for light and music, as well as a phone charging dock. There’s no a limit on the time spent in the fitting rooms, although local managers have discretion for adjustments as needed.

The spokeswoman also said, “Additionally, to enhance the shopping experience and bring in natural light, the store includes a window in the ‘Harbour View Room’ where customers can look out into the Victoria Harbour.”

Further, in a nod to omnichannel and a “seamless shopping experience” from online to a store, store associates can help shoppers place and pick up online orders in store. Cash wraps are also located throughout the store to enable a quicker and more accessible checkout experience.

Fran Horowitz, chief executive officer, said, “In this new space, we expect to deliver greater productivity on a significantly smaller footprint than our previous Hong Kong store. We are looking forward to bringing our new store experience to existing and new customers in Hong Kong.”

The retailer is planning to roll out its updated concept store to five additional domestic locations during the balance of 2017: in July, Somerset Collection North in Troy, Mich., and Lenox Square in Atlanta, and in August, Tysons Corner Center in Tysons Corner, Va.; Fashion Square in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Century City in Los Angeles.

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