Abercrombie & Fitch will unveil a new retail concept this week – The Getaway – inspired by the emotions felt before the start of a long weekend.
Although the stores will still be called Abercrombie & Fitch, the design is meant to replicate an elegant hotel lobby and the mix of merchandise is designed to appeal to the diverse needs of a 25- to 35-year-old customer.
The first two stores will open outside Milan in the Il Centro shopping center and the Del Amo fashion center in Los Angeles. It will be approximately 4,500 square feet and will carry menswear and womenswear.
“We want to make every day feel like the start of a long weekend and offer a variety that meets those needs,” said Carey Krug, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the New Albany, Ohio-based retailer.
So the mix will include clothes and accessories suitable for working out, at the office, for drinking after 5pm. or at a friend’s wedding. The collection will cover “every activity in the customer’s life for their weekend itinerary,” Krug said, and will include pieces from the company’s Covered Wedding Guest Collection and Your Personal Best Active Wear Collection.
“That’s the concept of Getaway, and we’re bringing it to life in a physical experience,” Krug said.
The stores will feature raised lighting and furniture, wooden walls and separate areas dedicated to each of the categories.
“We translated our customer’s mindset into an engaging experience in the real world,” said Joanna Ewing, group vice president and chief creative officer for A&F. “Their love for our denim manifested itself in a dedicated denim studio. Living rooms have been optimized with customizable lighting and stylish design elements. Their relevance to travel is reflected in the store’s hotel lobby-like atmosphere, complete with a check-in desk. The entire design of these new stores is our customers’ unique escape mentality brought to life in a way that communicates with high ease, which is exactly what Abercrombie stands for.”
The variety appeals to a Millennial as well as a Zillennial, which Krug said is “a word we made up” to describe a shopper who is out of the workforce and living alone. “Someone in their 20s is our sweet spot,” he said.
The stores will be marketed through the company’s social channels, including TikTok, where it has a strong presence, Krug added.
A&F has more than 300 stores worldwide in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the 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.
He said if the concept is successful, the company will open “a raft of others” across the country and the world. He declined to provide a projected number or a timeline, saying the public company is in a quiet period before announcing second-quarter results on Aug. 25.
“We’ll see how the customer reacts, but we’re very optimistic,” he said. “Abercrombie’s new Millennial and Zillennial customers continue to use our stores for a variety of needs — whether it’s discovering new products and trends, picking up orders online, connecting with friends virtually or IRL, fitting in better, or just enjoying the brand experience. Everything from the flow and design elements to the functionality of the spaces were designed to reflect our customer’s ideal experience, whether they visit for a transformative, curated shopping experience or use the omni-hub store capabilities.”
Over the past four years, A&F has worked to restructure its retail footprint by opening smaller, neighborhood stores and strengthening its online presence. At the company’s investor day conference call in June, management set goals of reaching $4.1 billion to $4.3 billion in revenue and an operating margin of at least 8 percent by the end of 2025, in compared with $3.7 billion last year in revenue and an operating margin of 1.2 percent in the red in the first quarter of this year. Additionally, it is targeting $5 billion in annual sales and compound annual sales growth of 3 to 5 percent by the end of fiscal 2025.