Sales may have slowed for Abercrombie & Fitch Co in the US, but the retailer is upbeat about China where the market opportunity for “causal luxury” could be huge. Over the next ten years, A&F will launch 100 new stores in China under its A&F and Hollister brands. “China will represent the biggest market potential for our brands. We are entering with strong brand awareness, ” Abercrombie’s Senior Vice-President of Marketing Craig Brommers tells China Daily. In April, the company opened a new flagship in a four story glass building on West Nanjing Road in Shanghai. Brommers is optimistic about China because he believes that A&F is creating a new segment in the market called casual luxury, based on clothing style and price. A&F operates in the affordable luxury market, which is expected to accelerate as more Chinese become middle class. “Chinese consumers seem to be looking for something a little beyond just blinged-out luxury logos, and we think the laid-back sophistication that A&F offers is timed right,” Brommers said. Early signs are promising. According to Brommers, “We do know that the seven Hollister stores on the Chinese mainland are offering a very encouraging start. We have seen sales increase at 35 percent for the Hollister stores and we expect similar strong results for A&F in near future. It’s a not a cookie-cutter format. We have to take the time to find a right location for our brand.” The brand will launch a local e-commerce site later this year.
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