Wednesday, March 10, 2010

American Eagle Closing Martin + Osa, Finally!

Ending months of speculation and calls from investors to pull the plug on its 3-year old Martin + Osa chain, American Eagle announced yesterday it will close all 28 Martin + Osa locations nationwide as well as its online operation. In January I predicted this closure would happen before summer, and sure enough, it has. While the announcement came yesterday, not all stores are expected to close until the second quarter. Ironically enough I was just at Perimeter Mall, home to the chain's only Atlanta area location and observed not a single customer in the store during a weekday lunch hour. Retail is tough these days, but this brand had a rough time of it from day one. American Eagle sought to capture customers that had grown out of its signature line, targeted at teens and young adults and market to customers in the late 20s to early 40s. A very niche market, and one that is especially difficult to enter as a completely new brand, it will now suffer the same fate as Abercrombie & Fitch's Ruehl No. 925 and Gap's Forth & Towne (coincidentally the previous store in Martin + Osa's Perimeter location). With 28 vacancies coming on line at what presumable are high demand malls, it will be interesting to see what will become of the space once Martin + Osa closes. Some possible options locally would be Abercrombie's new "Gilly Hicks" line. An Australian themed lingerie retailer, the store inherited a number of shuttered Ruehl No. 925 locations earlier this year and is not yet represented in Atlanta. J Crew's "crewcuts", its children's line and and even 77kids, American Eagle's children's line are possibilities at Perimeter. As for Martin + Osa, no official sale dates were announced but its safe to say it will be soon, so if you were a fan, hurry in and stock up! ToNeTo Atlanta

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