Aeropostale CEO Says Kids Who Wear His Brand's Clothing Won't Be Bullied
"The teenager today wants to fit in," Aéropostale CEO Julian Geiger said in a call with analysts Wednesday, according to a transcript of his remarks. "They want to fit in by wearing things that make them feel safe. If there's a brand promise to Aéropostale, it's that the teenager can wear our clothes, go to school and not be teased or made fun of [for] the way they look."
Geiger's remarks were first reported by BuzzFeed's Sapna Maheshwari.The troubled teen retailer just reported an 11% drop in same-store sales for the third quarter, marking its ninth straight quarter of declines.
Geiger said Wednesday that Aéropostale needs to focus on sticking to the teen "uniform" of basics like t-shirts and jeans - and spend less energy on keeping up with fast-fashion retailers like H&M - in order to return to positive sales.
"We sell real clothes to real teenagers," he said. Their habits have changed with advances in technology, but "I still believe that while they strive for individuality in many ways, at 14 to 17 years old, they still want to be accepted by their friends and peers and that there is still a uniform that they wear that makes them cool and [fit in]."
Aéropostale isn't alone in its struggle to reconnect with teen shoppers. Abercrombie and American Eagle are also battling sales and traffic declines.
Those three brands once dominated teen retail, but their allure has faded in recent years while fast-fashion retailers such as Forever 21, H&M and Zara have grown in popularity.
Teens are also spending less on clothing and more on food and technology, compared to previous generations.