Merely three years after hatching its UK business, American Eagle is spreading its wings and flying away home.
Competition within the UK’s fashion sector may be tougher than ever, but there’s an argument the retailer’s Pittsburgh paymasters did not give it a fighting chance on these shores.
American Eagle was clearly apprehensive about growing a big presence in the market, having failed to add to the three stores it opened in November 2014, but, actually, those shops and the associated staff deserved better.
Room for shoppers to move, floor to ceiling ladders, digital displays and knowledgeable ‘jean advisers’ created what was a decent shopping environment – but did American Eagle get that message across to the British consumer?
In a country where North American rivals like Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister, Gap and Banana Republic have all struggled, a concerted marketing and advertising push could have helped American Eagle pack more of a punch.
Unfortunately, it has now opted for flight over fight.
Details of American Eagle’s exit from the UK emerged as shop vacancy rates rose for the first time in two years, according to figures from Local Data Company.
There as downbeat news from value operator Wilko today, too, as it posted an 80% slump in pre-tax profit.
However, there were more positive noises emanating from Joules, which revealed surging profits in its first full year since IPO, and Dunelm, as it eyes up to 50 Kiddicare shop-in-shops.
Quote of the day
“Sterling depreciated 15% against the US dollar following the Brexit vote and has remained broadly at this low ever since. The impact on UK prices is widely expected to result in up to 5% inflation during 2017 as UK importers struggle to absorb the cost increase of imported goods.”
Wilko reveals the impact of Brexit on its full-year profits
Today in numbers
The combined wealth of the world’s 100 richest retailers.
The spike in pre-tax profit recorded by Joules in the year to May 28.
With no formal financial updates on the agenda, check out our video round-up of the biggest trends to keep an eye on this Christmas.
Luke Tugby, head of content