(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). Despite the pandemic, Aerie’s revenue decreased just 2% in the 13 weeks ended May 2, 2020. Meanwhile, “digital demand, as measured by ordered sales,” rose 75% for the lingerie division of American Eagle Outfitters.
Even that slight decline in sales at Aerie was not due to a lack of demand but rather the company’s inability to deliver, claimed CFO Mike Mathias. “The impact of distribution center backlog” was caused by multi-day shutdowns to clean and sanitize the facilities. “Aerie’s performance was extraordinary.”
American Eagle as a whole, which sells a variety of apparel under several brand names, reported a loss of $257,162,000 on sales of $551,692,000 compared to a profit of $40,752,000 on sales of $886,290,000 in the quarter ended May 4, 2019.
AEO CEO Jay Schottenstein emphasized he was “very pleased to see stores re-opening strong,” adding “American Eagle and Aerie will be well positioned for the back-to-school and fall seasons.”
For Aerie the upcoming months will not be just about reopening shops shut by the pandemic, but also about adding new stores. In the conference call to explain the financials, Aerie global brand president Jen Foyle revealed, “we are still planning on opening up around 25 stores in Aerie.” As of the end of the first quarter, the company reported it was operating 148 Aerie stand-alone stores and 175 Aerie “side-by-side” stores, which are attached to American Eagle apparel shops.
Foyle teased during the call that her brand will be experimenting with a new “small store concept,” but refused to provide details. “We’re pretty excited about [it]and it couldn’t be more relevant for these times.”
CFO Mathias emphasized that Aerie’s strong sales performance in the quarter was not the result of discounting. The brand’s results were “high-quality with promotions well controlled.” Added Foyle, “our merch margin was up to last year. Our markdown rates were lower than last year and it was a healthy margin last year. So, very strong. The team pull back on promotions. We got really creative because of the demand we saw online. We were able to pull back on strategic merchant categories and make sure that we were being as profitable as possible.”
Foyle pointed to the pandemic as a “pivot point” for “Aerie in particular. I think the team - I mean our February re-trend was so exciting. We were really basically where we were in Q4, just an amazing trend line. And obviously, with the epidemic and the current crisis, most retailers would slow things down, we actually accelerated.”
“Coming out of this COVID there is so much and so many learnings that have made us smarter, wiser, more cost efficient. We just have so many great ideas and you know this team is not slowing down. In fact we’re accelerating with ideas and newness.” — NM
The full transcript of the conference call can be found here: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4351810-american-eagle-outfitters-inc-aeo-ceo-jay-schottenstein-on-q1-2020-results-earnings-call?part=single
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