Hollister’s intimates line Gilly Hicks is finally branching out, starting with pop-up stores, as it builds out its expansion strategy over the balance of 2019.
First up for Gilly Hicks are four pop-up locations–Tysons Corner Center in Tysons, Va.; Dolphin Mall, Miami, Fla.; Los Cerritos Center, Cerritos, Calif., and Baybrook Mall, Friendswood, Texas–that will test the intimates brand’s standalone store concept, according to Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Hollister & Co.’s parent. The four join two existing pop-ups, one at the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the other at Roosevelt Field in Garden City, N.Y.
The plan is to open side-by-side spaces and carveouts in several Hollister stores for Gilly Hicks throughout the rest of the year as the brand moves forward on plans for global expansion.
One of the new pop-ups will be in a flexible retail concept at Tysons Corner Center. The section within Tysons is called BrandBox, and it serves as a platform for either heritage brands to test a new market or concept or for digitally-native brands to open and operate their first physical stores. BrandBox is owned by Macerich, a high-end mall operator that operates as a real estate investment trust.
By working with BrandBox, Gilly Hicks will have access to key retail analytics, like in-store sales, foot traffic and customer engagement. The data metrics can be leveraged by the intimates brand to make adjustments to the store concept format, which coincides with the company’s test-and-learn strategy.
“These Gilly Hicks pop-ups introduce new, engaging experiences for our customers, and create greater brand awareness,” Kristin Scott, president of global brands at Abercrombie, said. “As part of our test-and-learn approach, we’re looking forward to seeing how customers respond to Gilly in these unique and innovative formats.”
The pop-ups are also unique in that, while they feature the core Hollister brand vibe, the spaces themselves will be smaller–in keeping with the industry trend to create more intimate customer experiences–and will also include aspects that are localized to reflect on each city’s hot spots.
The company is working with Macerich and its BrandBox concept because of how it aligns with Abercrombie’s thinking about the “evolving retail landscape and changing customer needs, as we look to grow our Gilly Hicks brand,” Scott said.