Since 1992, Jay Schottenstein has been a visionary leader for American Eagle Outfitters. Together, with his father Jerome Schottenstein, the two forged a path that led to the evolution of AEO from a single-brand company, to a multi-brand $4 billion global business. Jay has been instrumental in the successful growth of American Eagle and the launch of the Aerie brand, and has built a strong foundation for AEO’s leading market position.
From a highly profitable fleet of 1,000 stores to a robust $1 billion digital business, AEO has become a true retail leader armed with two of the best brands in the industry—American Eagle and Aerie. In March, AEO will celebrate the 25th anniversary of its initial public offering.
“Twenty-five years ago, we didn’t even have our own jeans collection. Today, we are famous for our jeans, our fits, washes, quality, and value. And, as a company, we’ve grown dramatically,” Schottenstein told us.
AEO continues to embrace the changes that have transformed the industry in the past decade. Today’s youth want to engage with brands across channels, expect a seamless shopping experience and crave a deeper customer connection than previous generations. “I attribute our success to great talent and a team who truly cares about our products and our customer, and who approaches everyday with passion and dedication,” shared Schottenstein.
“We are seeing now more than ever, our customers care about individuality and inclusivity,” said Schottenstein. “Through our American Eagle brand, we provide a platform for youth empowerment and self-expression. Our merchandise collections offer a broad range of options, from our iconic jeans to amazingly soft tees and shirts that allow our customers to take what we make and make it their own.”
Likewise, its Aerie brand has cultivated a very personal relationship with its customer base by focusing on women’s empowerment and body positivity. “Five years ago, we stopped airbrushing our models and began using a diverse cast that represented real women. We quickly realized that not only were we exciting the customer with our Aerie merchandise assortment, we were helping to start a movement to redefine society’s beauty ideals,” continued Schottenstein.
AEO is certainly committed to its customer experience and quality products, and continues to stand out among its peers. AEO has a leading edge in the specialty apparel segment—one that has been cemented over the last 40 years of growth and will continue to propel its portfolio of brands into the future.