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Half-Naked Sentries Prepare Soho for Hollister's Arrival

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Feast your eyes on Hollister's promotional strategy: Two shirtless guys with sunblocked noses who milled around in front of the store all weekend. And this is just the beginning. The new store opens on Houston this Thursday, and given that the company itself has named it Hollister EPIC, you can expect the place to be grand. From WWD's look at the new store—couched in a bigger story about how the recession has hurt Abercrombie & Fitch—we learn the following details:

1.) The naked guys aren't going anywhere: "A&F’s marketing typically features bare-chested young men, and there will be at least two in boardshorts stationed at the entrance to mingle with shoppers."

2.) The architecture should be dramatic: "There is a real pier just inside the entrance at 600 Broadway, on the corner of Broadway and Houston Street, with a view at its edge over the entire store." WWD also has a slideshow, but out of the six images, only two are of the store—the rest are pretty much all just rippling torsos.

3.) Shoppers will be lulled by the sound of surf: "There also are 77 flat screens with a live feed of the surf straight from Huntington Beach, Calif." (They would have spared a couple for the coast of Hollister, CA, except that Hollister is about thirty miles inland.)

Once the Soho store is up and running, Hollister will expand internationally. Also in the works: More "aspirational" merchandise, including $79.50 salt-water washed jeans and an Epic cologne.

Update: A tipster just sent in a whole gallery's worth of surfer photos. One thing about Hollister employees: They are not shy.
· A&F Stays on Message With Global Strategy [WWD, subscription req'd]
· Billboards: EPIC Hollister Wall is Complete [Racked]