Back in 2012 A&F had 946 U.S. stores. They ended the most recent quarter with 684 (plus 195 international stores). In the immortal words of Gary Schoenfeld in his first earnings conference call as CEO of Pac Sun however many years ago it was, “Nobody needs 900 Pac Sun stores.”
Nobody needed 946 A&F stores either. Given how the retail market is changing, the 28% reduction was probably a great thing, if not part of the plan. It’s even more interesting to note that 400 of the U.S. stores are Hollister and only 284 are A&F branded. Those of you who have been around a while may remember, when Hollister opened (the first store was in 2000), that as an industry we were pretty dismissive of the concept. Don’t know if that’s because we didn’t think it would work, were afraid of it, or wished we’d thought of it first.