A&F shutters Market Street in SF, citing online shopping

Retailer closed 137 stores in 2020, when digital sales made up half its revenue

Fran Horowitz (chief executive officer, Abercrombie & Fitch) (Google Maps, Abercrombie & Fitch)
Fran Horowitz (chief executive officer, Abercrombie & Fitch) (Google Maps, Abercrombie & Fitch)

San Francisco is losing another retail outpost on Market Street.

Abercrombie & Fitch will close its Westfield Mall store at 865 Market Street next week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. It joined Gap, Marshalls, H&M, Uniqlo and DSW, all of which have closed stores in the city.

The Ohio company shut 137 stores in 2020, when digital sales grew so fast that they made up half its revenue. Since 2019, the company has closed about 20 percent of its stores nationwide.

“We are constantly evaluating our stores to ensure we are meeting our customers’ evolving needs,” a spokesperson for Abercrombie & Fitch said. “This sometimes results in relocating or closing a specific location as we continue to create the more intimate, digitally led experiences that our customers are looking for.”

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Bay Area malls, including the Westfield San Francisco Centre, closed for several months due to the pandemic, reducing the possibility of in-person shopping and prompting many stores to close. Theft has also been a concern: Multiple Bay Area stores were targeted by thieves last year over a three-day period that forced city officials to restrict access to Union Square. Crowds looted and vandalized high-end outlets such as Louis Vuitton and Burberry.

Stores have also been experiencing product shortages as supply chain demand went unmet during the holidays. Even so, Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Fran Horowitz said the company is on track to post its highest operating income in more than a decade.

“We did not have enough inventory to keep pace with customer demand, resulting in lost sales during the peak holiday selling period,” Horowitz said in a statement. “We believe that, if we had the inventory on-hand, we would have delivered sales within our previous outlook range. Post-holiday, as inventory has landed, we have experienced an acceleration in sales trend.”

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