Where Abercrombie & Fitch may close up to 40 stores across America

2 weeks ago by James Mattone in Features

EDIT: After publication, an Abercrombie & Fitch spokesperson reached out and commented that, "Per our 2019 outlook, based on up to 40 stores closures (across brands), and opening 40 new stores (across brands), we expect to have a flat to net increase in total stores count on lower square footage at the end of FY’19."

Just as it announced a same-store sales decrease of 2% for its flagship store chain, Abercrombie & Fitch ($NYSE:ANF) told investors it plans to close up to 40 stores in 2019.

When we last reported about A&F, the brand was going through an identity crisis after transitioning from a hunting wear brand to preppy t-shirt clothier.

As it stands, A&F has 324 open store locations. The majority of them — 271 — are in the United States.

Using alternative data like store proximity tied with median income data, we can paint a picture of supply and demand in order to predict where A&F may look to shrink its retail footprint.

Too many stores in locations with too few customers would be, in theory, prime candidates for the chopping block. And as for median income, places with higher median incomes (expensive rents) or lower median incomes (not enough people with discrenatory spending that can become customers) are reasonable metrics on which to predict where stores may close.

With all that in mind, here are the core-based statistical areas — what the federal government uses to break up all of the country's metropolitain areas — with the most A&F locations.

The sprawling metropolis of New York City ranks first with 23 stores spread out through the city and surrounding suburbs of Long Island, Westchester, and New Jersey.

However, NYC is far from the most expensive metro area when it comes to median income tracked in 2016. That title goes to Washington D.C., which has 10 Abercrombie locations in its CBSA.

Looking at the dozens of CBSAs with Abercrombie locations shows us that Washington D.C. is the second-most expensive part of the country as of 2016, with the Silicon Valley (San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara) being number one as the only CBSA with a household median income above $100,000.

Core-based Statistical Area

Number of A&F Stores

Median income (2016)

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

4

$100,469.00

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

10

$93,804.00

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT

3

$86,670.00

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

4

$85,947.00

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

10

$77,809.00

Urban Honolulu, HI

2

$77,161.00

Manchester-Nashua, NH

2

$73,189.00

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

6

$73,044.00

Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD

2

$72,801.00

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT

2

$71,379.00

On the other end of the spectrum, Tucson, Arizona ranks last in median income compared to all other CBSAs with Abercrombie locations. Miami, which has 7 stores, is in the bottom-five, and Las Vegas, which has 5 stores, ranked only a few spots below Magic City.

Core-based Statistical Area

Number of A&F Stores

Median income (2016)

Tucson, AZ

2

$46,764.00

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

3

$48,521.00

Memphis, TN-MS-AR

2

$48,545.00

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL

7

$50,064.00

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

4

$50,183.00

Cleveland-Elyria, OH

2

$51,001.00

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

5

$52,629.00

Rochester, NY

2

$53,480.00

Pittsburgh, PA

3

$54,020.00

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

4

$54,037.00

The Cleveland-Elyria area, which was just hit with a JC Penney store closure, ranked just outside the bottom-five CBSAs with multiple Abercrombie & Fitch locations, so it could be possible that the area sees another retail brand leave as other stores dry up.

But for now, we'll let the data speak for itself and see if A&F decides to close stores in these high exposure markets.

James Mattone

James is the Associate Editor at Thinknum Media, and he has an interest in video games, music, and tech news. You can find him on Twitter @TheJamesMattone.

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