Abercrombie opened a flagship in Tokyo in December. A line of 1,000 had formed by the time the store opened at 11 a.m., as Japanese customers crowded the entryway to take cell-phone snaps of the front door and signage. Though rugby styles are hugely popular in Japan right now, enthusiasm may be waning for the store, which Business of Fashion reports is deeply flawed. Its problems are as follows:
1. The Tokyo Abercrombie's prices are double the chain's American prices, which are high enough. Abercrombie probably figures they can get away with charging a lot more than their competitors (like American Eagle) here, because they offer fun bonuses for shopping in the store. Such as the shirtless male models and scantily clad female models running around trying to smile at you and make you feel awkward. But that doesn't work in Tokyo, which brings us to No. 2.
2. Japanese customers don't want to see chiseled, bare pectorals. Despite the awkwardness for even American customers, it's always fun to mosey into Abercrombie and giggle and pretend like you're not looking when you really are (and then walk out without buying anything, of course). But Japanese customers have different cultural values. Business of Fashion reports:
[M]any of the male staff members have their chests exposed. Sex appeal may be a big part of the brand’s charm in the United States, but this particular masculine ideal of a “ripped chest” is completely out of sync with current Japanese fashion culture and the constant presence of half-naked men is off-putting to the Japanese customer — especially when crammed into tight spaces like elevators.
4. The staff is mostly American, forcing Japanese customers to awkwardly speak English with them. Speaking to someone whose nipples are exposed in a sea of clothed people is strange enough without trying to do so in a foreign tongue.
5. The salespeople act like buffoons:
The staff also fails to follow widely recognized principles of Japanese politeness. They are boisterous and many sing and dance along with the songs piped through the Ginza store, making the relatively cramped sales space feel even more claustrophobic for consumers.
6. The store reeks of cologne, which is piped through the ventilation system. However, the Japanese are averse to cologne and perfume. Business of Fashion says the stench is so bad in the Tokyo Abercrombie, you smell for days after.
In Tokyo, Abercrombie Misses Its Mark [Business of Fashion]