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Abercrombie’s New Learning Labs

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. is opening two college campus stores so it can get closer to its targeted consumer group.

The stores are located at Ohio State University and at University Village near the University of Southern California. They are slated to open in August.

Stacia Andersen, Abercrombie’s brand president, said, “Our campus stores, built on a small footprint and with full omni-functionality, will also serve as unique learnings labs, providing us with insights into driving productivity from more compact stores, omnichannel integration and leveraging store-centric experiential marketing.”

The campus stores are less than half the size of its average Abercrombie stores in the U.S. The company has been moving toward a smaller store model overseas, one that it says has shown a higher store productivity level in the smaller footprint. The campus stores will give the company a better insight on operating smaller spaces, as well as an avenue to build relationships with its customers through its brand ambassador program.

On-campus events will help drive traffic to the store, while a 30-inch screen will allow customers to shop Abercrombie’s entire web site. Andersen told analysts at the company’s Investor Day presentation in April that the technology in the stores will allow it to show the customer “additional choices not available in those stores.” College students also can purchase online and pick up in the store, or order in the store and ship from the store.

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