The American fashion retail chain Abercrombie & Fitch is on its way to Israel, Calcalist has learned.
Israeli Sakal Holdings, owned by Haim Sakal, will gain the franchise for the brand's chain in Israel. Calcalist has also learned that Abercrombie representatives have recently visited the Jewish state to survey the market and visit shopping centers.
Until now the company had never expressed its desire to open a store chain under its brand name in Israel, which is why Haim Sakal has been distributing the brand through his fashion chain J, which includes six stores in upscale shopping malls thought the country.
The J chain stores hold multiple brands and some 70% of the sales area is allotted to Abercrombie & Fitch whereas the rest of the sales area is allotted to other foreign brands such as O'Neal, Quicksilver and Roxy.
Due to Abercrombie & Fitch's popularity among Israeli shoppers, the brand is imported by several importers and sold by a number of privately owned Israeli fashion stores. Sakal is also a wholesale distributor of the brand and holds the distribution license to Russia, South Africa and Eastern Europe.
Abercrombie & Fitch was established in 1892 in Manhattan by David Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch. The American fashion company specializes in casual wear for 18-25 year-olds.
The company has hundreds of stores throughout the US which operate under brand names Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister and Gilly Hicks. The company's other store chain, Ruehl, did not survive the financial crisis and shut down in 2010.
The company's interest in Israel is part of its expansion to markets outside the US, which began with stores in England, Italy, Denmark, France and Japan.
In the past two years, Israel has seen the arrival of several leading international fashion brands among them H&M, Gap, Bershka and Forever 21, which is scheduled to open soon.
The arrival of international brands to Israel may have played a role in Abercrombie & Fitch's decision to open in the country, making negotiations easier for Sakal. But as oppose to economically priced H&M and Forever 21, Abercrombie & Fitch is a high-priced brand which, despite precipitous prices, is very popular among Israelis.
Sakal Holdings spokesperson declined comment
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