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UK sales hit £50m at Abercrombie & Fitch

Abercrombie & Fitch’s first-year UK sales are set to storm in at about £50 million, equal to more established retail chains such as Reiss.

The figures, revealed exclusively to Drapers, show that the US brand’s central London flagship is on target to generate US$50m (£25.1m) on the anniversary of its opening in March. Its UK web sales are expected to match that fi gure, at about £25m.

This puts Abercrombie & Fitch’s UK business on a par with niche chain Reiss, which generated sales of £52.8m last year from its 50 UK stores.

The casualwear brand’s astonishing UK performance will confound critics, who predicted that its off-pitch Burlington Gardens location, which has minimal exterior branding, would not attract enough footfall to perform. However, queues of teen shoppers are regularly seen snaking down Burlington Gardens waiting to enter the Grade II-listed building.

Abercrombie & Fitch vice president of corporate communications Tom Lennox told Drapers: “The UK business has exceeded all our expectations in every way. We are set for turnover of US$50m (£25.1m) in the store in the fi rst year, which in sales per square foot is about level with our New York flagship.

“Sales have been consistently good since the opening and we were surprised by how well it started off .” Lennox estimated that the brand’s UK website took between 20% and 30% of Abercrombie & Fitch’s total online sales, which make up 7% of the group’s US$3.75 billion (£1.8bn) turnover. This equates to about £25m.

Separately, the retailer’s first anniversary in the UK will be celebrated with the return of its controversial quarterly magazine, which comes in the form of a hardback book.

The first edition, called Return to Paradise, features semi-naked models and will go on sale at the London store on April 5, priced at £50. The 200-page publication will feature photography from Bruce Weber and articles by Wallpaper magazine founder Tyler Brûlé.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Reading this news is truly depressing. You can buy on line at APPROX half price due to the exchange rate from the states but the so called younger genaration cue to get a picture taken with some hunk. Wow is this retailing at its best it just amazes me how all their customers look the same .
    This is a generation that wants to save the planet, stop low wages in the third world, protest out side Top shop etc but go to a shop that grossly over charges for their product .All made in some sweat shop in Asia or ?
    NO WONDER THEY MAKE SUCH A PROFIT.
    IS THIS SAD OR WHAT?

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  • A&F is a fascinating example of how you can re-position a brand when moving in to a new territory. I agree with the previous respondent about the risk A&F is taking around doing so without upgrading product quality, however. Another risk will come if and when A&F commits to more than a handful of UK stores in prestige locations - it will be hard to maintain the cachet that the unique Burlington Gardens location has given them.

    P.S. Would the younger generation referred to by the previous respondent be those who cannot distinguish between "cue" and "queue"?!

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  • As an Abercrombie fan I am greatly disappointed in the way Abercrombie are taking away our right to shop online through their American website which is 100 times cheaper than their UK website. They redirect you to the UK website even though you want to access their American website. What a distateful thing to do by a well established brand.

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