American Eagle is paving their way to post-pandemic success in retail. The brand has shared plans to dominate the market with physical spaces, portfolio expansions and fashion trends in a recent interview with Business Insider.
Jennifer Foyle has been appointed to Chief Creative Officer at American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. after serving as the Global Brand President of Aerie. Foyle is known for her significant contributions to the Aerie brand. Under her leadership, the retailer completely stopped editing images of their models, and instead created a space for body positivity across their marketing initiatives. This alone made waves in the industry and started a trend for many other retailers to do the same. With her new position, Foyle will lead merchandising, design, and marketing for both Aerie and American Eagle, and will strive to further promote inclusivity and individuality.
“We’re ready to grow when other retailers are closing. I think that that’s another point of distinction for our portfolio, that we are growing, we’re opening, we’re moving forward in these uncertain times, but this is where you can really dominate and win market share,” Foyle said.
Although American Eagle has plans to close 40-50 stores, the company still believes in the power of brick and mortar to grow their physical footprint. Aerie has released that they will be opening 25 new locations this year. Aerie’s Q2 financial results have shown significant success for the brand over the past few months, with total revenue up 32% and record-beating margins.
At of the end of the second quarter, there were 931 American Eagle stores and 160 standalone Aerie stores. And 175 of those American Eagle locations have Aerie stores attached to them.
“I think there will always be demand for some physical presence. And particularly after what we’ve been going through with this pandemic, I’m excited to entertain new ideas on how to work with our customer and be where she is,” Foyle said.
Aerie has also launched a new sub brand, Offline, which will open two locations this fall. Offline features activewear that is suited for both movement and casual wear. Aerie’s comfortable and casual styles have allowed the brand to capitalize on the current movement of social distancing and working from home.
The future of retail will serve as potential for a fashion renaissance beyond lounge clothes, says Foyle. Once the pandemic has passed, people will resume their usual routines, and will then need to expand their wardrobes beyond sweatpants and leggings. “I think, coming out of it, there’s going to be a fashion resurgence. Fashion never goes away. It only gets better and bigger,” Foyle said.
Young people, mainly Gen Z, are American Eagle’s target demographic and most frequent shoppers. This market is starting to venture out into the world again and will continue to through the holidays.
“They want to look good again. They want to get dressed. It’s what they like to do, and they want to show their individual style,” Foyle said. “I think it’s going to be an exciting time coming out of COVID.”
About American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE: AEO) is a leading global specialty retailer offering high-quality, on-trend clothing, accessories and personal care products at affordable prices under its American Eagle® and Aerie® brands. Our purpose is to show the world that there’s REAL power in the optimism of youth. The company operates stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Hong Kong, and ships to 81 countries worldwide through its websites. American Eagle and Aerie merchandise also is available at more than 200 international locations operated by licensees in 25 countries. For more information, please visit www.aeo-inc.com.