American Apparel will launch an e-commerce shop on eBay in Septemberas part of the Los Angeles-based retailer’s efforts to expanddistribution beyond its own stores. The online shop will be accessed viaa prominent link on the eBay home page and American Apparel expects theonline store to generate several million dollars in sales within itsfirst year.
The shop is believed to be part of a larger upcomingeBay platform for dedicated brand stores. Officials at eBay declined tocomment on the rollout.
“There are more than 30,000 searchesfor American Apparel on eBay each month and right now those customersare not buying from us directly. I’m excited to connect that demand withour vertically integrated production and distribution platform tocreate a new revenue channel for American Apparel,” said Dov Charney,founder and chief executive officer of American Apparel.
TheAmerican Apparel shop will do business via the eBay selling and checkoutinterface, with orders delivered by American Apparel’s fulfillmentsystems. American Apparel will also control merchandise assortments andphotography on the site. The launch date of the shop is tentativelyslated for Sept. 1.
The eBay initiative is targeted at AmericanApparel’s core base of tech-savvy, 18- to 25-year-old customers whospend lots of time online, while also reaching eBay’s broad base ofusers in middle America. “Our customer loves buying on the Internet but Ithink we’ll also get a new customer. The average eBay customer is about10 years older and the site sells to people all over America,” saidMarty Staff, chief business development officer at American Apparel.“This is a way to quickly jump-start an additional e-commerce businesswith a best-in-class partner.”
American Apparel will pay acommission to eBay on all sales from the new shop. Currently, AmericanApparel’s online sales as a percent of the company total are in the highsingle digits, said Staff. “We want to get to 10 percent quickly,” headded.
In the second quarter, American Apparel’s online salesincreased 19 percent compared with the year-ago quarter, whilesame-store sales in brick-and-motor units were flat. As of June 30, thecompany operated 254 stores in 20 countries.
The eBay shop isone prong of a multidimensional effort to energize top-line growth atAmerican Apparel, which narrowly averted a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filingin April before being bailed out by a Canadian investor group. Thecompany is in advanced talks with Bloomingdale’s to open leased spacesin up to four of those department stores in the U.S., as first reportedby WWD on July 13. New leased spaces are set to open in three Selfridgesstores in the U.K., joining the existing American Apparel shop in theLondon flagship. Additionally, Galeries Lafayette will add an AmericanApparel shop in France, in addition to the one in its Paris flagship.The existing shop-in-shops in London and Paris ring up more than $2,000in sales per square foot, said Staff.
The retailer has alsotargeted the college market and is close to sealing a deal with threemajor companies that control the lion’s share of college book stores inthe U.S. about supplying apparel in up to 2,500 campus stores.