Facing dwindling profits and tepid traffic in its main U.S. market, American Eagle said it’s entered into a multiyear license agreement with Aditya Birla Group, a multinational conglomerate with subsidiaries in the retail and textile industries.
The deal will see American Eagle stores popping up in Mumbai and Delhi by spring of next year.
Andrew McLean, American Eagle’s executive vice president of global commercial operations, said India’s “developing and vibrant economy,” as well as being home to the world’s largest youth population, make the country”an exciting growth opportunity.”
He added that “Aditya Birla brings deep market experience and extensive retail capabilities, giving us a strong platform to deliver our leading AE jeans collections and casual American style to India’s growing market.”
A representative of American Eagle could not be reached immediately for further comment.
The company, which also owns Aerie, currently operates over 1,000 stores in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, China and Hong Kong. American Eagle and Aerie are also widely available internationally through licensees in 24 countries.
American Eagle has been making international moves for a while. During the second quarter alone, seven Aerie stores were opened in new markets and the company said 32 international stores through licenses were planned for the second half of the year. However, up to 40 stores in the U.S. and abroad are slated to close.
The company is also increasingly focused on jeans, and Charles Kessler, American Eagle’s global brand president, said in August that the goal is to have the brand “be synonymous with jeans and be the number-one jeans brand.”
India seems to be increasingly alluring for retailers, with its expanding middle class and flexible regulations. Companies like Amazon, Armani Exchange, Cole Haan, Muji and Kate Spade have made their way into the country in the past year.
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