American Eagle opening up to 75 Aerie stores

American Eagle Outfitters is ramping up growth of its intimate brand.

The retailer plans to open 60 to 75 Aerie stores in its current fiscal year, including 35 to 40 standalone locations, with the remaining stores being side-by-sides with American Eagle. Growth will be focused on new markets in Texas and California, along with fill-ins in existing markets.

“Aerie is a game changer by staying at the forefront of body positivity and women's empowerment,” said Jennifer Foyle, global brand president, Aerie, on the company’s quarterly call with investors. “Our new cast of role models are even more inspirational they embrace the Aerie lifestyle and were chosen for their influential voices, unique stories and commitment to increase the power and empowering our community.”

American Eagle’s earnings rose 1.0%, to $431 million for the quarter ended Feb.6. Earnings per share came in at $0.43, beating Street estimates by one cent, compared to $0.52 for the year-ago period which had an extra week of sales due to the retail calendar.

Total net revenue rose 1% to $1.24 billion in the quarter, missing analysts’ estimates of $1.26 billion. Revenue was adversely affected by approximately $60 million of lost revenue due to the one less week, the company said.

Same-store sales rose 6%, the company’s 16th consecutive quarter of positive comps growth. By brand, American Eagle comparable sales increased 3%. Aerie’s comparable sales increased 23%, following a 34% increase last year, marking the 17th consecutive quarter of double-digit comp growth.

For the full year, total net revenue increased 6% to $4.0 billion. Consolidated same-store sales increased 8%. By brand, American Eagle comparable sales increased 5%. Aerie’s comparable sales increased 29%.

“Strong execution by the teams drove a record fourth quarter and fiscal 2018, as we reached a milestone of $4 billion in annual revenue with increased operating profit,” commented Jay Schottenstein, AEO’s chairman and CEO. “Eagle and Aerie continued to deliver consistent performance by combining product innovation and great merchandise with an improved customer experience across channels. As we head into 2019, we will continue to leverage the strength of our brands, selling channels and the team’s commitment to continually raising the bar for our customers. The strength of our balance sheet and free cash flow enables us to make important investments in our business to fuel market share gains, future growth and returns to our shareholders.”

American Eagle ended the year with a total of 1,055 stores.