Abercrombie Hopes Updated Stores, Fancy Fitting Rooms Will Bring Customers Back

Would better lighting and a place to charge your cellphone make you want to spend more time and money at the mall? Abercrombie & Fitch hopes so. 

The mall staple recently rolled out a new fitting room suite, as it continues to dig itself out from years of slumping sales, closing stores, and a now-defunct plan to sell itself. And the revamped store concept plan — including new fitting rooms — appears to be working: Abercrombie announced Thursday stronger than expected sales for the second quarter.

A New Store

That path includes opening seven new prototype stores and revamping others to feature a smaller footprint, “innovative fitting rooms,” and more omni-channel capabilities.

In the fitting rooms, customers will be able to change the lighting, adjust the music in the rooms, and charge their smartphones.

Additionally, some of the new rooms will be considered suites: They’ll include two individual dressing areas so that customers can share their experience with friends or family without having to parade in front of other shoppers.

The new stores appear to be a continuation of Abercrombie’s recent campaign to focus on shoppers’ feelings about themselves on the inside, not on the outside.

So Far So Good

The company’s Hollister brand saw same comparable same store ales rise 5%, while Abercrombie saw sales fall just 1% during the quarter.

Total sales for the company declined just 1%, Abercrombie notes, with second quarter sales clocking in at $779.3 million, down from $783.2 million at the same time last year.

The company says it expects to continue to face challenges this year, but anticipates improvements in product assortment, marketing, and optimization of productivity.

“We are confident we are on the right path to deliver enhanced performance and long-term shareholder value,” CEO Fran Horowitz said in a statement.


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