By  on January 12, 2009

Amidst the current retail meltdown, one specialty retailer that has managed to keep its sales up like a pair of spandex-infused leggings is American Apparel. Last week, as most retailers announced dismal December same-store sales — including double-digit declines at competitors such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap and Pacific Sunwear — American Apparel managed to pull out a 3 percent gain. For the full fourth quarter, the Los Angeles-based maker of colorful fashion basics posted a 10 percent comps improvement, even as holiday sales industrywide tanked.

Not only have American Apparel’s existing stores been remarkably resilient in the downturn, but the company also has been investing heavily in an ambitious retail expansion. Last year, it opened 81 stores in locales ranging from Scottsdale, Ariz., to Shenzhen, China, bringing the brand’s total door count to 260 stores in 19 countries.

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