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American Eagle plots further UK expansion with regional stores

US young fashion retailer American Eagle Outfitters is set to spread its wings further with new regional stores after debuting in London last November.

It opened stores at Westfield London, Westfield Stratford and Bluewater shopping centre in Kent at the end of last year and most recently a pop-up store in London’s Old Street underground station on July 7, which runs for three months.

Drapers understands the retailer is looking for opportunities in areas outside London and the Southeast with a view to opening three or four stores next year and the same amount in 2017.

“They have identified a list of around a dozen major city centre and shopping centre locations around the country, such as Manchester and the Trafford Centre, Glasgow and Edinburgh and Meadowhall [Sheffield], but then it will be opportunity-driven from there,” said a property source.

“They will be quite discerning in what they do because the existing stores are trading quite well and have helped them to understand the customer here better, but I don’t think the stores have broken any records. That kind of business is only going to work if they can get some scale.”

American Eagle’s chief commercial officer Simon Nankervis told Drapers a further roll-out was on the cards at the company’s UK launch in November.

He said: “Ultimately, the way we work, we’re opportunistic; we’re definitely looking at additional real estate locations. I think we definitely have opportunities outside of London too; there are a lot of good cities here, which warrants us opening stores in other major cities.”

A spokeswoman confirmed the retailer is seeking new stores, spurred on by the positive response to the three it launched last November. She would not provide further details.

She declined to provide UK trading figures, but said: “Conversion in store is high, demonstrating that our collections and pricing are well received, with our comprehensive denim range having great success.”

The retailer will launch a UK version of its website later this year.

American Eagle has more than 1,000 stores in the US, Canada, Mexico, China and Hong Kong, and through its website ships to 81 countries worldwide. It also has 82 franchise stores.

Harper Dennis Hobbs advises American Eagle on its UK push but declined to comment.

@Tara_Hounslea

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