We went shopping at Hollister and saw how it could be Abercrombie's secret weapon

Business Insider/Jessica TylerHollister was dimly lit, and most products still had a Hollister logo on them.

  • Abercrombie & Fitch has made some major changes in the past few years while its sister store,Hollister, has performed consistently well.
  • In the second quarter, comparable sales were up 2% at Abercrombie’s namesake store and 4% at Hollister, according to a company press release. It was the seventh consecutive quarter of growth for the Hollister brand.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Fran Horowitz said in an August earnings call that Hollister has been successful because of its product assortment and marketing strategy.
  • We paid a visit to a Hollister store in New York City and saw that it hasn’t changed much over the years while its sister brand, Abercrombie, has worked to reinvent itself.

While Abercrombie & Fitch has had to make some major changes to its brand over the past few years, its sister brand Hollister has been doing relatively well.

Hollister is generally priced lower than Abercrombie and tends to support it similarly to how Old Navy supports Gap. It’s meant to appeal to a younger crowd of shoppers and has a California-inspired theme. In the second quarter, comparable sales were up 2% at Abercrombie and 4% at Hollister, according to a company press release. It was the seventh consecutive quarter of growth for the Hollister brand.

In its August earnings call, the company discussed plans to open 22 new stores in 2018, 13 of which would be Hollister stores. Last year, it remodeled 35 Hollister stores. But according to Retail Dive, the company as a whole has closed 400 stores since 2010, and it may close as many as 60 this year.

Though Hollister hasn’t vowed to make the same drastic changes its sister brand Abercrombie has, it has been quietly working on improving its stores and marketing strategy, Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Fran Horowitz said in the earnings call. Most recently, Hollister launched a campaign featuring Khalid and Noah Cyrus.

On a recent trip to a Hollister store in New York City, we noticed that many products bore a huge logo – a design feature that Abercrombie has been criticised for in the past.

Here’s what else we found when we visited Hollister:


We went to the Hollister store in Soho. Outside was a clearance sale sign advertising $US29 hoodies and $US20 jeans.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Also in the entryway was a sign advertising Hollister’s “click & collect” program, which allows customers to shop online and pick up in store.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

I noticed right away how many deals and promotions there were. Most things were on sale in some capacity. A sign advertised that if you spend $US75 or more, you could get a free Hollister blanket.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Even though Abercrombie stores have evolved to be brighter and quieter, Hollister was still pretty dark on the inside, and the distinct smell of cologne still lingered. It didn’t seem to have changed a ton in the past few years.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Source: Business Insider


The employees at the store, though very helpful, were overwhelming. In each section of the store I walked towards, I was repeatedly asked if I needed help.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The store is generally less expensive than its sister store Abercrombie. Everything cost $US10-20 less than at Abercrombie, even though the products seemed to be very similar.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were $US20 fleece sweatpants …

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… $US20 sweaters …

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… and denim that was buy one, get one 50% off. There were a ton of different denim options organised by style and size.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There was also a collection from a campaign with Noah Cyrus. The styles were very simple, and everything was pretty high-quality for the price.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were still some summer clothes on display, but they were in the back of the store.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The store was divided up into smaller rooms. It seemed like there was another one around every corner. Some of the rooms had hoodies, some sold accessories, some held T-shirts — there was no obvious method to how it was organised. But, within each room, everything was well-organised by size.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

The lower level of the store didn’t seem to be selling anything drastically different from the upper level. It definitely got repetitive walking through the store.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Logos were very common. About half of the products in the store had “Hollister” written in big letters across it, or they had a big logo on the front. Having too many logos was a common complaint from Abercrombie shoppers in the past.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

There were a few more sales downstairs …

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

… along with backpacks and other random accessories.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

About half of the lower level was a massive clearance section where most products cost under $US20. There were a lot of deals throughout the store.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

All in all, Hollister had a lot of products that were similar to what is usually stocked in its sister store, Abercrombie, but at lower prices. It was a mostly pleasant shopping experience, and even though Hollister hasn’t changed drastically, it is still likely Abercrombie’s biggest strength.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

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