7 Burlington Gardens
7 Burlington Gardens is a Grade II* location of historic English significance, in London, England, United Kingdom. It is the former Queensberry House (not to be confused with the Scottish building of the same name) also called Uxbridge House. 7 Burlington Gardens is now the London flagship store of the American fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch.
The address is in the Mayfair district of London. Although the official address is 7 Burlington Gardens, it is also on Savile Row and Google Maps labels the now A&F location as 42 Savile Row, Westminster, W1S 3QG, United Kingdom. On the side of the building facing Savile Row, a sign reads Savile Row W1 / City of Westminster. On the facade of the building facing Burlington Gardens, it read "Burlington Gardens W1 / City of Westminster."
1725 to 21st century
The building was first erected in 1725 as a home. In the subsequent years, there were many additions and alterations to the building. At some point, it was made a branch of the Bank of England and staircases and vaults were added in the interior.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch leased the location in 2005. Seldorf Architects were hired to design the location in a way that both the A&F and English cultures could collaborate while maintaining most of the original architecture. Overnight in May, a two story construction wall was erected around the building and was plastered with the usual half-naked men and "Abercrombie & Fitch". The building then underwent an 18-month long restoration project to convert the location into an aspirational flagship. Numerous London buses decorated with A&F imagery (announcing the opening of the flagship) ran throughout London's streets.
When 7 Burlington Gardens opened doors, on 22 March 2008, it generated a volume sales of $280,000 USD in the first six hours. A crowd of people waited outside the building all day. In April 2008, A&F Quarterly, which was discontinued in 2003 in the USA, was relaunched for the UK. Late 2008, the brand launched a promoting film of the location which is played here.
Today: A Flagship store
The flagship takes up two floors of sales space within the building. Shirtless store greeters welcome at the entrance. The interior is noticeably dark and on walls hang massive paintings of semi-nude males similar to the Fifth Avenue flagship. Electronic dance music blasts and A&F fragrant scents are in the air. Associates ask the tagline "Hey, what's going on?", are instructed to smile, and supposedly talk shoplifters into buying the item they intended to rob rather than to incriminate them. As in other A&F stores there are the "models", the "impact team", and the "overnighters". There is a dance platform where models are instructed to dance for long periods of time - these are featured in the promotional video.
- Presence of A&F on Savile Row
- The form of arrivial, with the provocative construction wall for example, raised eyebrows among the conservative business owners of the street renowned for its formal respectable image. The Savile Row Bespoke was formed with permission of the City of Westminster to join Row tailors in protecting Savile Rows image. Mark Henderson, CEO of Gieves & Hawkes was made Chairman and he commented that “Exploiting the Savile Row name to attract high-paying retailers and businesses, at the cost of this world-esteemed industry [Savile Row tailoring], is shortsighted." Another Row tailor, Thomas Mahon, negatively commented on the situation to The Times: “If the Bespoke businesses were driven out by crappy retail stores selling poor-quality clothes...then Savile Row’s name would be irreparably damaged.”
- UK Price Points
- After the company opened its flagship in London / Savile Row, the brand was criticized in the UK because the merchandise that was offered to the UK customers cost double the prices (or even a direct $/£ swap) found in the United States and that goods offered in the UK are from past US seasons at full UK (£) prices without past season - clearance discount.The merchandise is labeled with much higher price in the UK than in American stores. Many products are priced with a direct $-to-£ swap that amounts to unreasonable price extortion. Jeans costing $89.50 in American stores are £90 ($155.17) in the UK. Many UK customers have expressed feeling of being "ripped-off". On the matter, the company said that it is following a trend by other brands to maintain profits in the UK (dubbed "Treasure Island"). Nevertheless, A&F has a price raise overwhelmingly higher than these other brands. An Abercrombie & Fitch website dedicated to the UK was also launched to prevent UK customers from accessing the American priced merchandise. View the UK privacy policies here.
Painting by Thomas Malton, in 1801.
- "Abercrombie & Fitch". Retrieved December 20, 2008.
- "Abercrombie & Fitch Announces Flagship Opening on Savile Row". Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Retrieved 2008-04-05.
- Hazlett, Curt. "Brits Get: Saucy American brand shakes up London’s formal Savile Row". Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved December 2008.
- Morgan, Jonathon. "Abercrombie & Fitch's soft-core porn catalog is coming back". Styledash. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- Mesure, Susie (2008-01-06). "US fashion retailer sexes up the teen market". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- Poseurs Paradise! What's it really like to work at the new Abercrombie & Fitch store?
- Poulter, Sean (April 6, 2007). "The trendy US gear that costs double over here". Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 17 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- "The trendy US gear that costs double over here". London: Mail Online. 2007-04-06. Archived from the original on 4 January 2009. Retrieved December 22, 2008.