Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Fighting the fugly jean

August 26, 2008

jeans.jpgAmerican Eagle is fighting a fickle foe: fugly jeans.

What makes jeans sit on the shelf instead of flying off the shelves? That’s up to the whims of American Eagle’s 15- to 25-year old target customer. The retailer’s summer offerings didn’t quite meet the expectations of its core audience, and sales suffered.

“We had a number of styles that just did not perform. And that hurt us very, very much,” American Eagle’s Chief Executive Jim O’Donnell said on a call with analysts.

“We’ve identified those (styles). We’ve taken appropriate action, both from a mark down point of view and also from a repositioning of holiday for ’08,” O’Donnell continued.

While O’Donnell declined to identify the worst selling styles, the retailer says it’s changing things up for the holiday season and next spring, bringing in at least four new styles for women and a few new lines for men “that we think are going to be very brand appropriate,” O’Donnell said.

 American Eagle posted sharply lower profits on Tuesday, hurt by weaker sales and increased markdowns needed to move unsold merchandise, and forecast third-quarter results below analysts’ estimates. 

(Photo/American Eagle)

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