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07/15/2021

Abercrombie debuts new Gilly Hicks store concept as brand goes gender-inclusive

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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Gilly Hicks is stepping out on its own — again. 

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. unveiled a new standalone store concept for its Gilly Hicks brand. The store, at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio, is the brand’s only current standalone location. Abercrombie said it will evaluate opportunities for future freestanding stores. 

The new Gilly Hicks prototype is part of a larger revamp for the intimates and activewear brand towards gender-inclusivity. The store does not separate the women’s and men’s departments. The product is merchandised by fabric and end-use rather than by gender.

Gilly Hicks is also expanding its assortment with underwear, loungewear and activewear in patterns and colors “that match everyone’s styles, regardless of gender identity.” Additionally, the brand is introducing a “future stretch” fabric, which it said it designed to accommodate a variety of body types.

Abercrombie launched Gilly Hicks in 2008. But it shuttered the brand’s 28 stores in 2013 amid disappointing sales (its online operations remained active). In 2017, Abercrombie relaunched the brand in Hollister stores and with two stand-alone locations, which have since closed. Currently, there are 25 side-by-side locations next to Hollister stores and 60 shops-in-shop locations globally.

As part of the revamp, select Gilly Hicks side-by-side locations within Hollister locations have been refreshed to provide the same welcoming and gender-neutral brand experience as the prototype. Gilly Hicks shops-in-shop in Hollister stores are expected to be enhanced soon.

“We are thrilled to begin this new chapter for Gilly Hicks,” said Kristin Scott, global brand president, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. “From its global reintroduction in 2017, to last year’s addition of our highly successful Gilly Go activewear line, to providing matching underwear, loungewear and sleepwear that can be worn by all genders – the brand has continued to evolve to best meet our customers’ needs. The new product, digital experience, stores and our recent investments in talent further demonstrate our commitment to Gilly as a key part of our company’s long-term growth strategy.”

To celebrate its new purpose of “bringing a daily dose of happy,” Gilly Hicks is giving away $100,000. Now through July 31, consumers in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. can leave a comment on the brand’s new Instagram page, sharing what takes them to their happy place, such as a person, place or thing or a feeling. Gilly Hicks will award five participants $20,000 each to spend on “whatever makes their happy place a reality,” the retailer said.

Abercrombie has been using social platforms to promote its brands as part of its digital-first strategy. In May, it launched its first “social brand,” called Social Tourist, which features fashions trending across social media platforms.

[Read More: Abercrombie & Fitch taps TikTok celebs for its first social brand]

Hollister is a division of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and is sold through approximately 495 stores worldwide.