(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). While 2012 sales and earnings were up for American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., which currently sells “aerie” lingerie online and in its stores, including 151 dedicated exclusively to the brand, there are signs that the company is not as excited about the category as it once was. While in previous years American Eagle had opened new aerie stores annually, it changed course and closed seven in 2012 and in its recently released annual report it said it planned to close an additional “15 to 20” in 2013.
American Eagle blamed aerie for much of the “loss on impairment of assets of $34.9 million” it recorded in 2012. Noting in its annual report that $34.4 million of that loss was recorded in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, it said the loss “resulted from our evaluation of stores and considered performance during the important holiday selling season as well as strategic decisions made in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 regarding the rebalancing of our store fleet. This impairment consisted of 52 retail stores, comprised of 43 aerie and nine American Eagle Outfitters stores.”
Moreover, during fiscal 2011, American Eagle said it “recorded asset impairment charges of $19.2 million consisting of the impairment of 57 retail stores, largely related to the aerie brand,” adding that “Based on the company’s review of the operating performance and projections of future performance of these stores, the company determined that they would not be able to generate sufficient cash flow over the life of the related leases to recover the company’s initial investment in them.”
Not all the news for aerie is bad. American Eagle reported that from 2011 to 2012 “comparable sales” for aerie increased “6%, or $10.9 million,” while for “AEO comparable sales increased 7%, or $172.3 million.” Moreover, in the annual statement the company did note that “We believe that there are attractive retail locations where we can continue to open American Eagle Outfitters and aerie stores in enclosed regional malls, urban areas and lifestyle centers.” What cannot be ignored is that the company has a history of moving out of under performing business segments. For example, it recently exited its 77kids by american eagle business, which had included over 20 stores in the U.S.
A chart in the 2012 annual report shows the ups and downs of the aerie brand. In fiscal 2008 American Eagle opened 77 new aerie stores, raising the number of stores it was operating from 39 at the start of the year to 116 by the end of the year. It continued to open aerie stores each year, and by the end of fiscal 2011 it was operating 158. The number dropped to 151 by the end of 2012, and if the company goes ahead with all of the closings it now contemplates, and does not open any new stores, the total will be down to 131 by the end of this year.
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