Carry on shopping: US preppy retailer comes to Dublin
TRAFFIC CAME to a standstill on College Green yesterday as Dublin got an eyeful of Abercrombie Fitch’s 50 “hot guys” flown in to promote its new shop.
Dressed in nothing but jeans, open red jackets and flip flops, they waved from the balconies and entrance of the former Habitat building to bewildered passersby.
Company policy being to hire “good-looking people instore”, flying in handsome males from A&F stores worldwide is the standard drill operated by the US retail giant known for preppy jeans and fleece-lined hoodies.
A Munich flagship had opened the day before with similar razzmatazz.
The Dublin outlet will open next Thursday.
One of the “hot guys” flaunting his toned torso was Irishman Philip Doyle from Banbridge, Co Down, a medical student and one of A&F’s Dublin sales staff.
“It gives me an opportunity to come to Dublin, which is so much more European than Belfast, particularly at night,” he said. As for his studies, “it’s two hours each way forced revision”, he smiled.
A group of excited schoolgirls collecting for Temple Street children’s hospital, delighted about their unexpected encounter, love the clothes.
“They’re really comfortable and good quality and you can wear the tracksuits anywhere. We save up for them for Christmas or birthdays,” said Sorcha Masterson.
A&F marketing director Michael Scheiner from Ohio said the Dublin location was “so cool, being right next to Trinity College. It’s the perfect place for us.”
He confirmed that prices would be similar to online and to other European stores. “Dublin’s interior, music and scent [Fierce, which is sprayed throughout the shops] will be the same as elsewhere. It’s dark because it should feel like a club and clubs are dark, but the merchandise will be well lit,” he said.
The 6,730sq ft Dublin premises is the 10th European store out of more than 1,000 worldwide.
The US retail giant, whose Irish customers buying from the US online at the height of the Celtic Tiger years warranted a dedicated section in DHL, now faces a very different climate.
However, Mr Scheiner said sales of its sister company Hollister in Ireland were encouraging.