Arriving on these shores fresh from the US, where it has become an icon of young fashion, American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) is opening its first UK stores this autumn and is looking for the best British talent to lead it to success. We take a look at the all-American brand that is set to make its mark on the British fashion scene and give our home-grown brands some competition in winning the best retail employees.
Who is AEO?
Founded in 1977, American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) is a young, affordable lifestyle brand catering to wholesome, preppy-with-an-edge 15-25 year olds in 1,000 stores across the US and abroad. Although AEO is a household name across the Atlantic, this is its first venture into the UK. Additionally, many of its stores outside America are operated through franchises, making Britain one of only a handful of international markets (after Mexico and Canada) where the brand will have a direct presence.
What are they known for?
Built on a strong denim offering, the AEO name is also widely known for its lifestyle collection offering casual basics complemented by fashion look in stretch denim and other fabrics with a twist. The group also operates a lingerie and intimates line called Aerie which launched in 2006. Aerie announced earlier this year that they would be using models of all sizes and banning digital retouching in their advertising in order to promote positive self image in their customers.
Where will the new stores be located?
At the moment, the company has three stores confirmed to open this autumn. One of these will be at the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent – a 4,800 sq ft store which will cater to one of the most affluent retail areas in the country. The other two will be located at Westfield’s London and Stratford shopping centres and are expected to cover 9,000 sq ft.
What is the culture like?
AEO's culture is known in the States for being “fun, cool, friendly and open-minded”. They are a group of polite and professional people who value creativity and innovation. They encourage their employees to be who they want to be, wear what they want to wear and do what they want to do. Although a young fashion brand, they have found a nice balance between fast-paced and relaxed and encourage both staff and customers to embrace the company philosophy “live your life”.
What is the interview/hiring process like at AEO?
At AEO the application and interview process is “casual and informative”. The company places a lot of emphasis on wanting potential employees to be comfortable so that your excitement at the opportunity of working for American Eagle can shine through. So make the most of the opportunity and let them know why you’re enthusiastic about working there.
Are there opportunities for progression?
The short answer is yes – lots! AEO as a company tends to promote from within and so being involved with the UK business from the beginning is a golden opportunity to build a long-lasting career with a brand new business in the UK. American Eagle is also constantly reviewing its current talent and rewards those who have proven to be successful in their position. They’re keen to create an atmosphere where employees can grow and develop.
What the staff say...
The new managers tasked with bringing AEO's new teams together tell us what they find inspiring about the brand.
"As the store manager of the new American Eagle Outfitters in Bluewater, I am so excited to be a part of the launch of such a fantastic brand. Working with AEO is a wonderful opportunity for all potential employees at every level and I am personally looking forward to building a superb team and setting high standards of service in the retail sector."
Store manager, Bluewater
"What attracted me to AEO was the opportunity to be a part of the expansion of such a great name into the UK. An opportunity like this doesn't come around often and it was just too good to miss! I'm looking forward to showing shoppers at Westfield Stratford just how exciting AEO and its products are."
General manager, Westfield Stratford
"In the short space of time I’ve been with the company it is immediately obvious that their culture and approach to people is fresh, innovating and that they really are passionate about developing their people."
General manager, Westfield White City
View the downloadable version of this article here