The US fashion chain Abercrombie & Fitch has committed to its eponymous shop in London for another 10 years and also plans to launch its first childrenswear store in the capital.
The young, preppy fashion retailer recently extended the lease on its shop in Mayfair's Burlington Gardens, on the corner of Savile Row, until 2021. It opened there in 2007, and is thought to have paid a hefty rent premium in exchange for its landlord removing a break clause in the lease contract. Abercrombie & Fitch's annual rent on the shop in the Grade II-listed building is thought to have more than doubled to well over £2m a year.
The shop – which partially resembles a nightclub, with its dark, perfumed interior and loud music – frequently has hordes of teenage girls queuing around the corner to get their picture taken with the bare-chested male models on the door. The London store is thought to deliver sales in excess of £40m a year.
The group also instructed Capita Symonds, the property specialist, to find a 10,000sq ft shop in which to launch its Abercrombie Kids format in London's West End. Mayfair is the preferred location for the childrenswear chain's UK debut. Abercrombie & Fitch – which also owns the Hollister and Gilly Hicks brands – and Capita Symonds declined to comment.
The US fashion group's strategy is to have just one destination store for Abercrombie & Fitch in central London, but it has already opened 22 Hollister shops in the UK and plans are afoot to open in Dublin. The group also opened its first Gilly Hicks lingerie store outside the US in Westfield, west London, last year.
While the retail sector continues to battle a prolonged slowdown in consumer spending, a series of overseas chains are targeting launches in London, as the capital's appeal among international shoppers shows little sign of abating.
American Eagle, the young US fashion chain, is looking for its first UK store and Victoria's Secret, the women's lingerie retailer, will open its door on London's New Bond Street next year. Abercrombie & Fitch has 1,071 stores globally, comprising 316 of its eponymous stores, 181 Abercrombie Kids, 502 Hollister and 18 Gilly Hicks shops in the US, with a further 54 overseas. The group's sales jumped by 22 per cent to $836.7m for the 13 weeks to 1 May.Reuse content