DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Abercrombie & Fitch continues rollout of new store prototype

BY Marianne Wilson

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has brought its updated store environment to Tysons Corner Center, Tysons, Va.

The location is one of seven new concept stores the retailer will open by yearend. Abercrombie debuted the new look in February, at Polaris Fashion Mall in Columbus, Ohio. It has also opened at Lenox Square, Atlanta, Georgia, and at Somerset North, Troy, Michigan (Somerset North).

The new Abercrombie prototype was designed with the best customer experience in mind, and to encourage the discovery of the brand`s new collections. The fitting rooms are outfitted with such amenities as separate controls for light and music, as well as a phone charging dock.

Select fitting rooms comprise of two individual capsules within a larger, private suite, allowing for sharing new looks with a friend or family member, while also enjoying privacy. In other features, cash wraps are placed throughout the space, enabling a quicker and more accessible checkout experience.

Abercrombie is also updating select existing stores with a refreshed in-store design, including most recently, its location at Memorial City Mall in Houston, Texas. The updated store incorporates elements of the prototype, including the refurbished logo from 1892, the open concept layout, and the runway for customers to have better visibility to the product.

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MOBILITY

Nation’s largest mall is ‘mapping out’ a better shopping experience

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Technology that works like GPS for indoor locations is helping shoppers find their way through Mall of America.

The retail and entertainment center — which features 5.6 million square feet of retail attractions and hotel space, including more than 520 retail stores and restaurants — is hoping to enhance its visitor experience with a sophisticated, app-based indoor positioning system. The StepInside Indoor Positioning System, from Senion, directs visitors to their desired retail, restaurant, or entertainment destination within the huge complex through an app on their mobile devices.

The indoor positioning system (IPS) technology leverages wireless access points from Cisco, with the points positioned throughout Mall of America, The technology detects the smartphone’s movement and radio sensors to provide accurate positioning. Both companies are calling the project the largest retail installation of IPS in the United States to date.

“As a destination that welcomes millions of visitors from around the world each year, MOA is continuously implementing new offerings to enhance the guest experience and make the property more accessible,” said Jill Renslow, senior VP of marketing and business development at Mall of America. “StepInside indoor positioning system, allows us to of-fer step-by-step wayfinding, a more personalized visit that caters to the guest preference, and a way for visitors to more easily connect with our brands and attractions.”

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ECOMMERCE

British online fashion giant doubling down on the U.S.

BY Marianne Wilson

As if American apparel retailers didn't have enough homegrown competition, ASOS, the largest online fashion retailer in the U.K., is making a major push into the American market.

The company has signed an agreement to establish its second North American fulfilment center, in Union City, Georgia, outside of Atlanta. The center, which has an initial investment of $40 million, will be able to handle 10 million items, with the opportunity to expand further. Construction is expected to begin shortly, with operations starting in fall 2018.

"This agreement is a major step forward for ASOS in the US and demonstrates the opportunity we believe lies ahead in this key market," said Nick Beighton, CEO, ASOS. "Our US business delivered 39% constant currency growth in the first six months of the current financial year. Our U.S. fulfilment centre will enable us to significantly develop our proposition for our 20-something US customers supporting our continued growth and future ambitions."

Founded in 2000, ASOS (which stands for "As Seen on Screen") targets young millennial men and women with affordable fast-fashion items and accessories. It features 85,000 different products (including 4,000 new styles every week) to 12.4 million active customers. About 40% of the mix comes from its own brand, and another 20% from exclusive items created for it by other brands. The rest is made up of items from both well-known labels and smaller ones.

According to Business Insider, U.S. sales make up 12% of ASOS's total sales globally, and are growing twice as fast as U.K. sales. The retailer is looking to capitalize on that growth with its new distribution center.

"This fulfilment centre will significantly enhance ASOS' US customer proposition providing more cost effective, faster and more flexible delivery options," the company stated.

The company currently has a market cap of about five billion British pounds, or around $6.5 billion. Sales totaled about $1.8 billion in 2016. With eight local language websites, ASOS sells to customers in the U.S., U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Russia.

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