American Eagle (NYSE: AEO) is a mall-based apparel and accessories retailer that sells its own brands of products throughout the U.S. and Canada. AEO operates two different chains (American Eagle Outfitters and aerie) that target 15 - 25 year old customers. Its original third operation (Martin + OSA) was shut down in FY2010. The overwhelming majority of AEO's sales come from its namesake American Eagle operations.
In order to enter new markets, AEO has also entered into a partnership with an international retail operator to open stores in the Middle East. This decision has the added benefit of reducing the effects of U.S. economic cycles on AEO's bottom line. However, recent rising commodity prices have negatively affected AEO's costs.
American Eagle sells its own brands of clothing and accessories in mall-based retail stores in the U.S. and Canada. AEO currently sells clothing under two brand names: its American Eagle flagship store (which targets 15 - 25 year old men and women) and its Aerie stores (which sells intimates and personal care products to 15 - 25 year old women).
AEO competes with several other retailers in the 14-30 year old apparel market. AEO has consistently been at the top of its sector in terms of profitability and is one of the largest companies in the market in terms of net sales. AEO's 21.0% operating margin is the highest out of all of its competitors, even considering that its 48.0% gross margin rate is considerably lower than the 66.6% gross margin rate of AEO's main competitor, ANF.