For the first time in more than 15 years, Abercrombie & Fitch is launching a new store format for its namesake banner.
The store will open on Friday, Feb. 17, at Polaris Fashion Mall in Columbus, Ohio. Designed by MJ Sagan Architecture, which was also involved in the creation of the company`s New Albany headquarters, the prototype`s look and feel is in line with the brand`s recent evolution to a more inclusive and welcoming positioning.
The 4,860-sq.-ft. store, the first of seven that will be built this year, was designed with the best customer experience in mind, and to encourage the discovery of the brand`s new collections, the company said.
"It is important that our stores reflect what the Abercrombie & Fitch brand is today, so we`ve created a new space for our customers, that is warm, inviting, inclusive and open,” said Stacia Andersen, brand president of Abercrombie & Fitch and abercrombie kids.
The updates begin at the entrance. Abercrombie’s formerly monolithic exterior has been replaced with a transparent storefront that features a metal sculpture of an A&F logo first used in the early 1900s.
Upon entering the store, the customer will encounter two in-store shops: a fragrance "apothecary" and an area for seasonal capsule collections. There will also be a dedicated denim room.
Mannequins for both genders will live on a concrete platform that runs from the storefront through the middle of the store, showcasing the key trends and ideas for the current season. Throughout the store, the collections will be merchandised to showcase how pieces can be mixed together.
The fitting rooms are comprised if two individual capsules within a larger, private suite. The layout is intended to allow each shopper to share new looks with a friend or family member while also enjoying privacy. Each suite features separate controls for light and music, as well as a phone charging dock.
Abercrombie’s central cash wrap has been replaced with multiple check-outs located throughout the space, enabling a quicker and more accessible checkout experience. Associates will also be on hand to help shoppers place and pick up online orders in store.
The interior features a cohesive palette of modern, tactile materials including cork, bronze, galvanized steel, concrete, vegan leather, wood and marble that act as a neutral but complimentary background to the collections. The store will be subtly scented with a lighter, cleaner, gender-neutral fragrance.
"The new Abercrombie and Fitch store design illustrates a strong brand, with a rich history that is evolving and moving forward,” said MJ Sagain, architect. “A cohesive material palette, an elevated collection and residential scale elements enhance the personal, more intimate aspect of the A&F shopping experience.”