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 American Eagle shutters UK stores

American Eagle Outfitters is set to exit the UK market just a few years after its debut there, according to reports, with its trio of stores in Bluewater, and London’s two Westfield malls now closed.
Press reports also said it is planning to axe its UK website, although for now the company has said that Uk shopper scan still buy its goods online.

The UK fashion market has become much tougher for many retailers including home-grown firms and international giants, with suggestions that American eagle had struggled in the face of high rents, rising wage bills and intense competition. Falling consumer spending on discretionary items appeared to be the last straw.

The company opened the UK stores almost three years ago and launched its website less than a year later. At the time it said it had plans for between 20 and 30 stores in Britain and would launch its Aerie underwear brand too. That brand had grown strongly in its domestic US market.

But no new stores appeared and it’s unclear whether that, and now the decision to quit the market, was a reaction to a reaction to a post-Brexit vote downturn or not. That 20-plus store plan would likely have seen more openings before the result of the June 2016 Brexit became known, which means the lack of activity on this front could be reflective of a weaker-than-expected reception for the brand.