// Abercrombie & Fitch will close seven flagships by January 2021
// US lifestyle brand will cut 10% from its retail space as it looks to reduce “dependence on tourist-driven locations”
Abercrombie & Fitch will close its flagship London store by the end of January 2021, before its lease was set to expire, according to the Financial Times.
The clothing chain said it will close seven of its global flagship stores in total, after a drop in visitors during the pandemic exacerbated difficulties from underperformance.
The closures represent a combined loss of 200,000 square feet to Abercrombie’s store portfolio, or about 10 per cent of the brand’s total space.
- Abercrombie & Fitch posts steep quarterly losses as stores stay closed
- Abercrombie & Fitch continues expansion with Westfield opening
By closing the flagships, the company will remove USD 85 million (£64 million) of lease liabilities from its balance sheet.
“Tourism has kind of ground to a halt” during the pandemic, Abercrombie & Fitch’s chief financial officer Scott Lipesky, said in an interview cited by The Financial Times.
Lipesky added that decision is part of a “multiyear strategy of reducing dependence on tourist-driven locations”, and that the business “can reach these customers these days through social media and digital marketing”.
The closures were announced on Tuesday as Abercrombie posted a 5 per cent drop in net sales of USD 820 million (£614 million) for its third quarter to November 2.
Meanwhile digital net sales rose 43 per cent to USD 382 million (£386 million).
“With these seven closures, we should end the year with eight operating flagships down from fifteen at the beginning of the year,” chief executive Fran Horowitz said as part of Abercrombie’s third quarter trading announcements.