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A&F ramps up UK expansion

Abercrombie & Fitch posted a 9% rise in net income to $216.8 million (£111.2m) in the 13 weeks to February 2 and said it planned to press ahead with UK expansion of its Hollister chain.

A&F, which saw sales rise 8% to $1.23 billion (£631m) over the period, said it planned to open four Hollister stores in the UK this year. It has already signed a store in Brent Cross which will mark the Hollister brand’s entry into Europe. A Hollister flagship is also scheduled to open in Manhattan’s Soho in the US next spring.

The retailer said it was also looking for flagship sites for its Abercrombie & Fitch chain in Milan, Copenhagen and Paris, as well as Japan. The company has already secured a unit in Tokyo’s Ginza which will open late next year.

Abercrombie & Fitch has also earmarked $300m (£153m) for expansion in the US, and plans to open 67 Hollister stores, 17 Abercrombie shops, four A&F stores and 16 Gilly Hicks shops. However, the retailer said it will scale back initial expansion plans for its newer format, Ruehl with six openings planned this year.

A&F chairman and chief executive Mike Jeffries said: "We continue to make strategic investments in the business to sustain and to enhance brand quality and to support future growth, both domestically and internationally."

For the year, net income reached $475.7m (£244m) against $422.2m (£216.6m) the previous year. Sales grew 13% to $3.75bn (£1.9bn).

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