American Retailer To Open First China Flagship On August 11
Brace yourselves for one of the hottest events of the summer: the opening of Abercrombie & Fitch’s Hong Kong flagship.
On August 11th at 11:00 AM, A&F will open its doors to Hong Kong at the city’s historic Pedder Building — an enviable location previously occupied by Shanghai Tang and won out by the American mass(ish)-market retailer following a hotly disputed bidding war last fall. However, this opening ceremony won’t be all pomp and circumstance. In keeping with the label’s tradition, winners of the “hottest A&F guys” competition, selected from A&F stores in the US, Italy, the UK, France, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Japan, Belgium and Singapore, will be flown into Hong Kong for the brand’s debut to flex and pose for photo ops with Hong Kong’s screaming teen contingent.
In commemoration of the event, A&F will release a limited edition hardcover A&F Quarterly, featuring the crème de la crème of “hotness” throughout the brand’s history, provocatively captured by photographer Bruce Weber. Produced in a limited run of only 500, all hand-numbered and exclusively for Hong Kong, 50 copies of the Quarterly will be given to the first 50 fans in line, with the remainder available at the flagship on a first-come-first-serve basis for shoppers who spend at least HK$5,000 (US$645).
Hot on the heels of fellow American imports American Eagle and A&F offshoot Hollister and the British brand Superdry, A&F is jumping on the Hong Kong bandwagon, expanding its All-American presence into the eastern front at no small cost — reportedly paying HK$7 million (US$902,727) per month in rent for the location. Of course, like any good retailer hoping to tap China’s younger middle-class consumer, A&F is making itself fully accessible through Facebook, Twitter, and Weibo, allowing fans to find out where its “Hot Guys” will be mugging for photos in Hong Kong prior to the opening.
With Hong Kong increasingly saturated at the high-end with major luxury retailers, and mainland China saturated with low-end domestic brands, mid-market international labels like Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew, COS and others — targeting white-collar Chinese shoppers or teenagers who control their parents’ pocketbooks — stand to gain regardless of demand fluctuations at the highest or lowest ends of the market. We’re looking forward to seeing where A&F goes from here — whether they use Hong Kong as a launchpad for a broader mainland China expansion effort or whether they take the J. Crew route and go first into the e-commerce realm to test the waters in the Mainland. It may be a youth-centered mass-market brand in its native USA, but in China A&F is placed firmly in the increasingly lucrative “masstige” segment: a good place to be as China’s youthful “post-90s” generation takes charge.