|The fellas waving out to the masses experiencing history...|
Image by Kevin Lee used for illustrative purposes only. | (image source)
Near half a decade in development, Abercrombie & Fitch Co., by 2012, was actively in the process to locate and secure prime real estate for its anticipated A&F-branded flagship store in Shanghai. Back in 2011, the Company had successfully acquired, in a high-profile bidding war, exceptional placing for its A&F Hong Kong flagship store which went on to officially mark the epic introduction of the Abercrombie & Fitch brand in greater China on August 11, 2012. As the top destination of consumerism in greater China, and as well as commanding a unique international flair, Hong Kong was the most appropriate inauguration launch pad into the Chinese market. Looking forward to solidifying its foundations for its future in China, the Company well moved ahead to introducing the brand onto the mainland via premium and modern retail flourish, in play with the A&F character, in Shanghai – China's premier fashion capital, and leading business and cultural hub, roaring with ever-escalating force on the greater global stage.
With the original opening date anticipated for the fall of 2013, construction on A&F Shanghai (CN-ANF; store #11298) went into full-force on the grounds of the developing Jing An Kerry Centre (静安嘉里中心) located on swanky Nanjing West Road (南京西路). With the high-end, large-scale, mix-use development's plans to comprise around 42% of its retail operations in fashion, Abercrombie & Fitch would be only but one of an exclusive set of reputable brands confirmed to captivate the consumer with the latest of world-class exceptional shopping. However, by August 2013, the opening timeframe was confirmed pushed back to spring 2014 – even though the premises for the flagship were already getting well in place with the original plan – in light of timing-completion changes for the greater Jing An Kerry Centre development project.
Meanwhile, the awesome A&F Shanghai team members had already been dispatched, by Home Office, to the Chinese fashion capital as official A&F expats. They began their adventures getting acquainted with the city and culture and while beginning work in setting up managing operations.
Fans began getting acquainted with the wondrous beauty and progress of A&F Shanghai beginning in November 2013 here at #THEHOTTESTBLOG with the sharings of the wonderful team. We now knew the opening date to be set for April 2014. By December, the hoarding wall went up around the main entrance and it made quite the amusing statement as a seeming giant package of FIERCE cologne!
On into 2014, recruitment officially took off full-swing in the second week of January and the team participated in its first onsite Diversity & Inclusion Awareness Week! Interviews then finally began on February 10 incidentally during Chinese New Year 2014, Year of the Horse. By March 6, the entrance was given its "Abercrombie & Fitch" signage over the main doors and the facade was now complete in its full splendor. Totally striking. Ever stoked, we felt the big day approaching near!
Reppin' with their killer smiles and #ABERCROMBIEHOT good looks, the A&F Hot Guys finally premiered out for Shanghai on April 11! The fellas were not shirtless at first, though they did happen to lose their tees later on...much to the further amplified display of appreciation by fans! Apart from saluting, engaging, and taking pics with the fantastic crowds, the guys also went about the city and even got the awesome opportunities of soaking in the culture and even partying out in the nightlife!
An event for the ages, Abercrombie & Fitch finally, finally! swung doors to its all-new epic flagship on Saturday, 10:00 (CST; UTC+12) on mark! With roars of applause and cheers (well around 2,000 people gathered enmass!), the moment was sizzling with utter euphoria: the incredible team itself so joyous to finally welcome its shoppers, and they themselves to immerse in the pure gold of the great A&F Experience... Mainland China, welcome to the club! (See pics)
The potential for Abercrombie & Fitch in the nation is great. Though having lately witnessed a slowdown in growth in comparison to the explosive forward traction of the recent past, China is still on a promising economic path with an ever evolving and expanding, ravenous retail industry. With growth at 12.2% in March for the retail sector, it outbeat estimates for the month and stands robust. Abercrombie & Fitch well believes that its A&F brand has opened business on mainland China at the best time when, now, Chinese consumers are turning to more to understanded, less-flashy upscale goods: "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," stated Craig Brommers, Senior Vice-President of Marketing. The brand's "Casual Luxury" near-luxury notion of style is seen to bring a newness into the mix of offerings in mainland China, and, combined with the unique, exceptional Abercrombie aesthetic and appeal, will stand out amid all the fluctuations of the mainland Chinese retail landscape.
Indeed, China has the irrefutable potential to be second only to the United States for A&F Co. operations. The first A&F brand to have been introduced into greater China was Hollister Co. and it has been averaging top-shelf standings in the field of Company international operations: "[We 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," furthered Brommers. Overall, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. looks forward to pursuing growth diligently to assure its brands their deserving premium standing in the market, and it now anticipates a business infrastructure of 100+ company stores by the 2020s.
The second Abercrombie & Fitch location in mainland China will be the world's first ever mall-based international A&F to be located in the Chengdu metropolis in the Chinese interior; other cities are already being screened for future expansion for HCo and A&F; and the mainland Chinese direct-to-consumer abercrombie.com site will launch in the latter-half of this year.
...Seriously, learn your Mandarin!
P.S. Read up all about A&F Shanghai (here)!