UPDATE: Abercrombie & Fitch closes most Indiana stores as sales drag

Upscale retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has closed four of its five stores in Indiana, including Indianapolis locations at Circle Centre and the Fashion Mall at Keystone.

The local stores closed over the weekend.

The retailer, which targets the teen and young adult market, also recently closed stores in Fort Wayne and Evansville. The only remaining store in Indiana is at the Edinburgh Premium Outlets mall about 35 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co., based in New Albany, Ohio, is among a growing number of teen retailers facing tough times.

The company operated 395 Abercrombie stores and 570 Hollister stores as of Oct. 31, but those numbers have been falling. In November, the company said it expected to close 40 Abercrombie stores nationwide before the end of January because of lease expirations.

Same-store sales were down 7 percent at Abercrombie and 2 percent at Hollister during the company's most recent quarter. Same-store sales include revenue at stores open at least a year and represent a key measurement for retail performance.

Abercrombie joins a growing list of recent departures from Circle Centre.

Johnny Rockets, the largest tenant in the third-floor food court at Circle Centre, served its last customers on Sunday.

Gap and Gap Kids, in addition to the American Greetings card shop, Johnston & Murphy and the Yankee Candle Co., also are among the casualties.

Abercrombie occupied the southernmost space on the second floor of Circle Centre, next to Forever 21.

Circle Centre and the Fashion Mall are managed by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc.

Simon has proposed an estimated $20 million in improvements to Circle Centre, which spurred a downtown renaissance when it opened 20 years ago but now is showing signs of struggle.

The upgrades include an overall freshening of the 752,000-square-foot mall, including new lighting and seating, an upgraded food court, upgraded bathrooms, construction of a mall entrance on Georgia Street and improvements to other entrances to help better draw in passers-by.

Simon manages the mall but owns just a 15 percent stake. The rest is owned by about 20 local companies that pumped $75 million into the $320 million project in the early 1990s.
 

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