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Hollister brings the surf to the store

July 11, 2005

Hollister is an Abercrombie & Fitch retail brand inspired by the California surf lifestyle. It’s one of the fastest growing brands in teen retail. Fiscal 2004, revenues increased by 84% to reach $579 million. They currently operate around 300 stores and have plans to reach 500.

The brand prides itself in providing a unique retail store experience for its customers. Although mall-based, the stores are beautifully designed. Most take the form inspired by an early C20th vintage surf store with couches, tables, lots of wood fixtures and a casual ambience that reflects the surf vibe. It’s rumored that Hollister spends more per square foot on store development, than any other teen retailer. This strategy has paid back with Hollister’s achieving sales/sq ft of around $400.

To extend the experience a little further, Hollister has been experimenting with bringing the surf to the store. This hi-tech operation uses a combination of web cameras and plasma screens to bring Hollister customers real-time images from the epicenter of California surf culture, Huntington Beach.

Although it could be looked at as an expensive gimmick, it’s much more than that. The giant video screens transform the store, allowing the customer to connect directly with the physical epicenter of the brand. It builds on the idea of brand experience by making it even more immersive.

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