|The all-new storefront at HCo. Triangle Town Mall in Raleigh, NC,|
which debuted in February 2014 in part of initial test.
The repositioning of Hollister Co. as a fash-fashion retailer comes from the felt need to adapt to the fast-fashion format which has now risen to mainstream prevalence in the mid-2010s. Multitudinous, trendy, fashion-forward, offerings – with satisfactory quality and brought out in alternating continuous speed at affordable prices – have become the preference for everyday youths in this post-Recession era. It's what's "cool" now and it is a striking difference compared to the classic yesteryears when exclusivity, high-price points, heritage, and iconic logoing with a privileged-belonging-to-a-group mentality was used to broadcast cool. Although moderately priced, Hollister, specializing in classic styles, was nevertheless considered an "expensive" brand appropriately priced within its target consumer audience to uphold its image of quality and exclusivity in teen retail. However, that format is no longer able to sail ahead of the game with the volatile winds of teen consumerism now in the favor of the fash-fashion structure.
At the end of the Fiscal Year 2013 (February 1, 2014), Hollister figured a 14% decline in comparable store sales – the lowest considering the FY2013 -10% comps at Abercrombie & Fitch and -4% at abercrombie kids.
The greater picture to secure the future of the Hollister division is to have it appropriately remolded to stand robust with the times in its targeted teen sector. This is being directed to translate to a sharp adaptation of what works in this day and age in that field. It will bring about a furthermore heightened differentiation between Hollister and the Abercrombie & Fitch brand...the latter being focused on reconnecting fully with young adults and keeping inline with its premium edge so that Hollister Co. will stand in contrast as a fast-fashion teen retailer.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is currently working with Herbert Mines Associates Inc. to specifically lock-in on an individual with keen awareness of fast-fashion for the position as president of the Hollister division. Prices will lower-down beginning in the latter-half of 2014 and in process is work in looking to readjust the supply chains to meet "fast and responsive" with the transition into the fast-fashion format.
Glenn Wellington, Chief Investment Officer at Engaged Capital (the out-of-the-blue and now-infamous investment firm notoriously outspoken against recent A&F operations and always in spotlight at every turn of events), remarked, "[The A&F] board doesn't have the credibility to make the determination that Hollister should be a fast-fashion retailer or that Mike Jeffries should be leading the turnaround. [The division could] differentiate itself without changing what the core brand is."
The recently appointed Non-Executive Chairman of Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Arthur C. Martinez, had sat down with Wellington and expressed that CEO Michael "Mike" S. Jeffries has the full support of the board. Martinez is rightfully adamant on the fact of Mike as a historic icon of retail made and stated Mike's eagerness to oversee the greater transition phase: "When the time comes, he wants to leave on a high note."
Securing stable internal succession for the position of A&F CEO is a top priority in this critical new period and succession-capability is among the criteria for the pending positions of president of an A&F Family division. In the near-future, it could be the A&F President or of this new up-and-coming HCo...
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