American Eagle Is Closing Locations, Starting Sunday
Individual stores in three states are closing, and it's likely we'll see more in the future.
If you still frequent your local shopping mall, chances are you're used to seeing an American Eagle Outfitters store. Often shortened to American Eagle or AE, the brand is well known for its trendy clothing and denim, and caters largely to a younger demographic. It's also become more popular thanks to its sister brands, Offline and Aerie, which sell intimates and activewear, respectively. But like so many other retailers, American Eagle is now shuttering brick-and-mortar locations, with a few closures planned and more on the horizon. Read on to find out which stores are shutting their doors for good.
The first closure is slated for Jan. 15.
According to News-Press Now, the American Eagle location at East Hills Shopping Center in St. Joseph, Missouri, is slated to close this Sunday, Jan. 15.
The outlet reported that American Eagle announced the news via email last weekend, adding that shoppers will still have access to items online. Steven Craig—owner of Craig Realty, which operates the shopping center—also confirmed the news.
"Yes, they are closing their store there," Craig told News-Press Now. "You know, we continue to look at different uses for the mall. I think that the consumer is a lot different today than it was 52 years ago when the mall was built. Shopping is different. Shopping is not an all-day experience. Shopping is more of a targeted experience. One or two stores, not shopping an entire mall."
Craig went on to speculate that vacant stores, including the American Eagle location, could become office spaces or be used for entertainment or athletic purposes. "We're looking at a variety of things, and we'll continue to examine what's next," he added.
Illinois is losing an American Eagle store as well.
The American Eagle store in Hickory Point Mall in Forsyth, Illinois, will also say goodbye on Sunday, the Herald & Review reported. A sign on the store states that "This AE store is closing soon." But Michah Conaway, acting store leader, confirmed that the current staff weren't given any further information.
"We've just been told we are closing," Conaway said. It's unclear what will be done with unsold merchandise or if there will be a sale ahead of the weekend, per the Herald & Review.
A third American Eagle is closing in New York.
An American Eagle in the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood, New York, is also closing down, the Post-Journal reported. Plans to shutter were confirmed by signs in the store, but no definitive closure date was noted.
Per the Post-Journal, the mall recently came under new ownership when it was purchased by Kohan Retail Investment Group. It's unclear, however, if the sale is connected to the American Eagle store closure.
Best Life reached out to American Eagle for comment on the closures and to confirm a closing date for the Lakewood store, but has yet to hear back.
The retailer warned shoppers about closures back in 2021.
While these closures may seem surprising, they're not coming out of the blue. Two years ago, American Eagle CFO Mike Mathias announced plans to close between 200 and 250 American Eagle stores, per CNBC. The targeted locations were all in shopping malls, with closures reducing AE's store footprint at the time (880 stores) by roughly a quarter. At the same time, executives confirmed plans to expand the Aerie brand via 50 new stores.
During a Nov. 2022 call with investors, Jen Foyle, president and executive creative director for American Eagle and Aerie, confirmed that these plans are ongoing and the company is "selectively closing unproductive" American Eagle stores. At the time, 685 standalone American Eagle stores remained, with the retailer reporting 88 net store closures across all brands since 2019. Executives indicated that more closures are on the way.
"We are focused on updating and modernizing our most productive stores, relocating in some markets to ensure we're in the best locations, leveraging data to customize our assortments and inventory levels by market, [and] continuing to close our least productive stores where we can confidently consolidate sales to other stores or transition to e-commerce," Michael Rempell, chief operating officer for American Eagle, said during the call.