NEW YORK — American Eagle Outfitters' intimate apparel subbrand will be called "aerie by American Eagle" and launch in the fall with a multipronged real estate strategy and an expanded collection.
Aerie represents an aggressive effort to maximize a category that has been building at the sportswear chain for six years and challenges the dominance of Victoria's Secret. Company executives said aerie won't have the edginess or raw sexuality of Victoria's Secret, but will still come across as romantic for a narrower segment of consumers ages 15 to 25.
Susan McGalla, president and chief merchandising officer of American Eagle, based in Warrendale, Pa., outlined the plans and showed the aerie logo, both of which are to be announced today. She said in an interview Monday that the strategy involves:
Three or four stand-alone aerie by American Eagle stores, including a 2,400-square-foot unit in Haywood Mall in Greenville, S.C. McGalla declined to specify the other locations.
All intimate apparel areas operating within American Eagle stores will be converted into aerie by American Eagle in-store shops, with enhanced fixtures and graphics.
There will be expanded collections, including bras, panties, dormwear for the fall, and personal care by spring 2007. Bras have been tested since February.
The seven American Eagle intimates shops that are next to existing American Eagle stores will be renamed aerie by American Eagle. Six are in the U.S. One is in Canada.
The label on the merchandise will just say aerie.
"There is really one major market share player out there in addition to department stores," McGalla said, referring to Victoria's Secret. "We don't really look at it as us going after them. We look at it as a good market share opportunity with a business we've been in. We are very interested in extending our lifestyle. We are a lifestyle brand and a destination. Six years ago, we started to pursue the intimate business. It's a natural extension of our [female customer] and her more personal side."
Prices will be the same as now, including $24.50 for bras and hoodies, sleek Ts and madras for $15.50 and dorm and yoga pants for $29.50.
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