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Hollister to make its UK debut at Brent Cross

Abercrombie & Fitch sister brand Hollister has signed for its first store in the UK at Hammerson’s Brent Cross shopping centre in north London.

Hollister has secured a 7,590 sq ft (705 sq m) store at the scheme, close to Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M and Rigby & Peller. The young fashion retailer will open this autumn.

The company is understood to be in negotiations with four other shopping centres, including Bluewater, Westfield London and WestQuay in Southampton. It wants to open five stores in the UK this year.

“Brent Cross is a strong, well-respected shopping centre, similar to some of the more successful ones in the US,” said Laura Pomerantz, principal at Abercrombie’s property adviser PBS Real Estate. “The scheme has good demographics and appeals to residents of areas such as Hampstead and St John’s Wood.”

Late last year, Abercrombie & Fitch chief financial officer Michael Kramer said there is potential for up to 500 Hollister stores in Europe.

He added that Abercrombie & Fitch’s debut London store on Savile Row generates higher sales and profits than its flagship on New York’s Fifth Avenue. The brand intends to focus on opening further flagships in other European cities.

Hammerson director of leasing Sheila King said: “Hollister is very much a mall-based retailer in the US and so it has chosen to go down the same route here.”

Abercrombie & Fitch has five retail chains: Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Ruehl, Abercrombie and its latest is Australian-themed lingerie format Gilly Hicks Sydney.

PBS Real Estate is the exclusive property advisor for Abercrombie & Fitch in Europe. NB Real Estate is assisting in the UK for Hollister. Cushman & Wakefield and Lunson Mitchenall are letting agents for Brent Cross shopping centre.

Abercrombie & Fitch reported net sales of US$657 million (332.3 million) for the five weeks to January 5, 2008.

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