Hickey Freeman must close its doors at 666 Fifth Avenue now that parent company Hartmarx Corp. has filed for bankruptcy. In what must be one of the most unnecessary new stores in the history of Fifth Avenue, Abercrombie & Fitch will take over the space for a new children’s outpost. Abercrombie seems an unlikely tenant considering how badly they’re doing in the downturn. Executives refuse to put things on sale even though lower allowances are prompting teenagers to realize the folly in spending, say, $70 on “Perfect Butt” leggings with a fly closure and scrunchy ankles. The chain won’t reveal first-quarter results until May 15, but Abercrombie’s same-store sales (sales in stores open more than a year) fell 17 percent in April. The 666 Fifth Avenue space is bigger than an old Brooks Brothers space Abercrombie had planned to lease. Perhaps executives are feeling ballsy and optimistic since they expected same-store sales to dip 24.8 percent.
The new children’s store will be just four blocks down from regular-people’s Abercrombie at 57th Street. It’s Abercrombie’s first kids store in the city and the building’s owners are also feeling optimistic about it. They expect it to drive foot traffic and appeal to tourists, unlike Hickey Freeman. Ah yes, that’s just what Fifth Avenue needs! More tourists and strollers. Maybe they’ll even clump up in lines outside the store. And maybe, if they forget where it is, they’ll be able to find it by following the sound of blaring baby house music.