Ailing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is to close over 180 stores in a bid to increase the company's profitability. The collegiate fashion business said it would focus on its international expansion program, according the A&F's Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Ramsden, which saw strong growth in the last year.
Ramsden spoke during the Deutsche Bank Global Consumer Conference in Paris where he confirmed the company closed 135 underperforming stores in the United States in the last two years in addition to planning to close 180 more units in order to achieve higher profit margins. “Most of these closures will regard the A&F and Kids brands with a smaller number of closures for Hollister”, said Ramsden.
At the end of the first quarter of 2012 the American retailer had 107 international stores, including 81 boutiques in Europe, where the first store opened in 2007 in London, in the former Jil Sander flagship off Savile Row.
A&F's international business soared to 30% of total revenues, a strong growth compared to 2008 when it made up only 10% of the company’s turnover. Other than the European market, A&F aims to further develop in the Asian market, where it currently operates through just seven points of sale. The first focus will be Greater China, with a debut a flagship opening in Hong Kong.
The Middle East, Australia and Latin America are also targeted markets for its international expansion programme.
Image: A&F spring 12 campaign