US young fashion retailer American Eagle Outfitters is looking at how to expand its lingerie chain Aerie in the UK, including the possibility of opening standalone stores.
American Eagle made its debut in the UK with three stores at Westfield London, Westfield Stratford City and Bluewater shopping centre in Kent at the end of last year. It also had a three-month pop-up store at Old Street Station, which closed earlier this month.
It plans to open a further three or four American Eagle stores in the UK next year, using data from its new website to assess local demand.
While American Eagle has 840 stores in the US, Aerie only has 82. Aerie global brand president Jen Foyle said there is potential to grow the business by expanding overseas.
“We feel like there’s a gap in the market to target a younger girl in a modern way,” she told Drapers. “Around a year ago we launched our Aerie Real campaign, which we’d kind of say is ‘mom approved’. We don’t airbrush our models and they’re not necessarily lingerie models, so there is a mix of body types.
“We think there’s a great opportunity for Aerie overseas because overtly sexy doesn’t work in all cultures, so we’ve seen a great response in Canada and Israel for example, and now we’re looking at the UK.”
Aerie has a section in all American Eagle stores where it has no unit of its own in the same mall, and has a range of side-by-side locations, which Foyle said could be an opportunity for the UK.
US rival Victoria’s Secret trades from 10 stores in the UK, and will open at Intu Lakeside and WestQuay Southampton before the end of the year.