By the beginning of next year, Abercrombie & Fitch will definitively close its flagship stores in Brussels, Paris and other cities. The American fashion group is focusing more and more on smaller stores.
"From 9 January we will be definitely closed", says a poster at the entrance of Abercrombie & Fitch’s Brussels flagship store. The branch was opened in 2011 - with a lot of fuss - on the prestigious boulevard de Waterloo. The employees who had to welcome the first clients at the time were even selected by a modelling agency. But soon it will all be over.
Cut-throat competition and the corona crisis are at the root of the closure. Since 2015, the fashion label has been doing much worse, losing ground to emerging brands such as Uniqlo and Superdry. In addition, the brand faced increasing competition from established brands such as Zara and H&M, which are also much more affordable.
Already last summer, rumours stated that the fashion group would close its flagship store on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, news that has been officially confirmed in the meantime. But Abercrombie & Fitch is also giving up its large stores elsewhere: in the next three months, the flagships in London, Munich, Madrid and Fukuoka (Japan) will also close.
The American fashion group wants to focus on smaller shops, more adapted to new consumption patterns. In total, the group operates 309 Abercrombie shops (of which 256 in the United States), with sales of 343 million dollar (283 million euro) in the third quarter, and 540 Hollister shops (of which 386 in the United States), with sales of 477 million dollar (393 million euro).