Where does American Eagle Outfitters sit in the UK market? Data from research firm Retailmap gives us a clearer picture.
American Eagle Outfitters might be the number one denim retailer in the US, with global revenues of $3.3bn (£2.1bn) in 2013, but with little brand awareness on these shores it was very much a new entrant when it launched with two stores, at Westfield London and Bluewater, in November. But how does it measure up to the competition? Consultancy Retailmap shows how it fits into the UK menswear market.
Hot on the heels of American Eagle landing in the UK, we arranged for a team of Retailmap’s researchers to covertly audit its men’s clothing range at Westfield London, in order to obtain a view of its initial price and range architecture.
Looking at an overall shopping basket level, American Eagle’s average price puts it just above the mainstream UK fashion players of Topman, River Island and Next, but lower than other US imports Gap, Hollister and American Apparel.
The most noticeable aspect is that American Eagle Outfitters has a (typically American, you might say) narrow price architecture in the UK. This narrow stretch is the result of both a high entry price stance - significantly above Topman, River Island and Next - together with a low exit price (both Topman and Next exit much higher).
This narrowness can be traced down to a product category level. If we take a key category such as jeans (not accounting for fits), the 30 options in store are spread across four price points from £34 to £44 (giving a stretch of 29%). Compare this against fellow casual retailer Hollister’s range of 33 options, which are spread over five price points from £44 to £64 (stretch of 45%), or against Next’s 54 options ranging from £25 to £50 (stretch of 100%). The online jean offer at American Eagle is more substantial, but with prices that have not been rounded to recognised UK price points after exchange rates and international uplifts have been incorporated.
Another quirk is within casual shirts, where 40 of the 50 in-store options are £30, with the remaining 10 options falling into three higher price points.
When looking at jersey tops, the range in store of 69 options is split over three price points: £12, £22 and £26. The vacuum between £12 and £22 is quite a large void at a prime area of pricing, which in turn to the shopper will give the impression of an expensive range. For example, nearly 60% of American Apparel’s options are between these price points.
The devil is of course in the detail, hence why we found the category architectures of such interest, but from initial overall price positioning only time will tell whether the Eagle has found a new home.