American Eagle Grows Up with Martin & Osa
American Eagle is looking to help young adults (25 – 40) graduate from the scruffy look of their teenage and college years to more mature designs better fitted to their current stage in life.
“We don’t want them to throw out those old clothes,” said Charles Martin, who along with his wife Michele head up design from American Eagle, “but we want to upgrade them.”
“We are going after a customer whose closet is overflowing,” said Ms. Martin. “She does not need a T-shirt. She needs an experience.”
The chain’s answer to the experience the 25 to 40 crowd is looking for is Martin & Osa, a new apparel store concept scheduled to open for the first time tomorrow in McLean, Va.
With Martin & Osa, American Eagle has joined others, such as Abercrombie & Fitch (Ruehl No. 925) and Pacific Sunwear (One Thousand Steps), as chains that have opened new concepts to continue offering clothing solutions for consumers once they have passed the target demographic of the flagship banner.
Demographic data supports the efforts of American Eagle and others to latch on to the post-collegiate clothing market. The number of Americans ages 25 to 34 is expected to rise by 5.2 percent by 2010, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. During the same period, the number of consumers 12- to 18-years old is projected to fall by 3.3. percent.
John Morris, an analyst at Wachovia Securities, told The New York Times, “Retailers are salivating over that 30-year-old demographic.”
American Eagle is relatively late in coming to the 25 – 40 party. “This has come later than the company would have wanted,” said Ken Pilot, the president of Martin & Osa. Mr. Pilot is a former chief executive of J. Crew and head of international operations at Gap.
The retailer plans to open five Martin & Osa stores this year with 15 in operation by the end of next year.
Discussion Questions: What do you see as the do’s and don’ts associated with serving the 25 – 40 consumer base? What retailers do you believe currently
do the best job of meeting this market’s needs?