American Eagle’s Martin + Osa Done?

It looks like American Eagle’s experiment to attract an older consumer didn’t work out too well. The retailer is supposedly closing down its 28 store Martin + Osa chain that it launced in 2006.

The news follows a strong January sales period for the company. Same-store sales rose 10% during the month and quarterly revenues were to come in at a 5% hike, way about a 10% in 2008’s fourth quarter.

The closings follow competitor Abercrombie & Fitch’s closing of its RUEHL concept, which was also geared toward an older shopper.

Are apparel retailers too ambitious with some of these new concepts, or does it pay off in the long run for them to experiment, even if it does fail?

ALSO: Rent-A-Center Earnings: Higher Income Consumers Now Rent to Own

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7 Responses to “American Eagle’s Martin + Osa Done?”


  1. 1 James February 8, 2010 at 10:15 am

    These are very expensive little experiments! Older shoppers are set in their ways and resistent to sales hype. They buy less and look for high quality when they do, just the opposite of my experiences with A&F.

  2. 2 INTHEEND February 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Continual experimentation in new concepts is as essential to retail as new product experimentation is to consumer products; it’s costly, sometimes wasteful, but ultimately, informative. It is a small piece of information that analysts use to determine stock values in a capitalist society.

  3. 3 HoosierPapi February 9, 2010 at 9:56 am

    No surprise here. The M+O hype/store concept was very cool, but the product, while appearing to be decent quality, was not worth the premium price. After my initial visit, I thought “I’ll come if they have discounted sales maybe, but that’s it.” As for Ruehl….whatever. Maybe in middle age I am just to old to get the concept, but I am not surprised it did not make $$$ with the cost to build it out.

  4. 4 Broker February 9, 2010 at 10:12 am

    These chains were started when apparel sales were booming and unfortunately ran into the retail meatgrinder in 2008 and 2009. I guess the parent companies didn’t see things improving as Dick and Jane continue to pay down their debts and decided to cut their losses. I’m sure the mall owners didn’t need any additional bad news regarding retailers but things are tough all over.

  5. 5 shopper February 9, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    I loved Martin + Osa’s clothes, but their price point was just too high – especially for an American Eagle “one-up”. The items I’ve purchased there, many of which I wear on a weekly basis, were all bought on sale. Too bad! I’ll miss them – but in the meantime I’ll scamper in to snag store-closing deals!

  6. 6 Mark February 15, 2010 at 1:14 am

    I agree about the price being what kept me from shopping here all the time. It was nice to have a grown up American Eagle to shop at but a bummer to pay Banana or J-Crew prices to get it. M&O was nice because I could purchase business casual clothing and maintain some uniqueness and be comfortable enough in the clothes to go from work to play. I usually only purchased things on sale, which should be a sign to the heads of the store…but they’re concerned with bottom line…not the trends, right? It’s too bad. Like 4th and Town and others before it – good idea, bad follow through.

  7. 7 Market Participant February 18, 2010 at 1:49 am

    M+O was good quality and very good concept, but the initial price points were too high. By the time you reach the 25-40 age band, you are too smart to pay full retail for clothing.

    So a concept of selling adult clothing at full price was going to face headwinds in any economy. M+O was just a slight cut below JCrew/Banana Republic, but still priced too close to the more aspirational competition.

    ANF’s Ruehl’s concept was doomed because real adults don’t wear ANF type clothing (even before it has been intentionally distressed for sale to teenagers). I think AEO would have a winner if they kept M+O open for a while longer, lowered prices, and let it slowly build traction.


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