American Eagle to open redesigned store where you can 'curate' your jeans and do your laundry

Key Points
  • American Eagle announces a store prototype, known as AE Studio.
  • The first of its kind will open Nov. 10 in New York's Union Square neighborhood.
  • The space will have a heavy focus on jeans, along with digital additions in dressing rooms, social media features and laundry on-site.
A customer shops for shirts at an American Eagle Outfitters Inc. store.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Teen apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters is opening a prototype store that it hopes will entice younger shoppers to stay longer by customizing their jeans and doing their laundry there.

The company announced this week that its first AE Studio store will open Nov. 10 in New York's Union Square neighborhood.

"As we celebrate the success of the last four decades, we look ahead to create new brand experiences to inspire today's customer, and broaden our leadership in jeans," Chad Kessler, American Eagle's global brand president, said in a statement.

"AE Studio is a perfect example of our evolution where we invite customers to enjoy a unique brand experience, feel at home, and curate their distinct individual style."

AE Studio will have a heavy focus on jeans, with a gallery for American Eagle's denim products on the first floor.

There will also be a "Maker's Shop" on the jeans floor, where shoppers can create their own bespoke pair, personalized to their fit and style.

Other additions include iPads in the dressing rooms to serve as "digital concierges." American Eagle said its own social media team will also operate an office in the store to be closer to shoppers and "keep their finger on the pulse of the brand."

Looking to get shoppers to stick around longer, American Eagle is putting a wall of washers and dryers in the AE Studio, where customers like students can do their laundry.

Shoppers can "hang out with friends or study in the studio bar and seating area," the company said.

"The integration of services like laundry and study spaces may seem a little wacky, but it's exactly the type of thing that will drive footfall, especially among younger shoppers," GlobalData Retail managing director Neil Saunders said.

"That said, American Eagle will need to work hard to publicize and communicate this as it is an unusual facility to have and most shoppers would not expect it," Saunders added. "The bottom line is that AEO is innovating and testing new things which puts it on the right side of the tracks as far as retail is concerned."

American Eagle is one of many apparel brands seeking to keep the physical shopping experience exciting to win back shoppers from online merchants. Newer entrants to the U.S. fashion market, like H&M and Zara, have also managed to steal a share of sales.

In August, the company reported upbeat second-quarter profit and revenue and a month later announced a new loyalty program, AEO Connected, that promises to draw shoppers in with more rewards.

American Eagle has also found a bright spot in its Aerie nameplate, for women's intimate apparel. Comparable sales for Aerie jumped an impressive 26 percent in the second quarter.