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RETAIL LICENSING

Aéropostale Seeks to Raise Cash with International Licensing

Teen specialty retailer Aéropostale, struggling to turn around sagging sales domestically under threat of delisting from the New York Stock Exchange, is expanding through retail and product licensing deals. By expanding through licensing, Aéropostale is positioned to receive a steady income while its licensing partners covers the majority of costs.

The chain plans to expand its operations in Asia and the EMEA region with two new licensing deals. Over the next five years, Robinson Department Store Public Company plans to open approximately 40 standalone and shop-in-shop Aéropostale locations in Thailand, while Q and A Retail Company will open approximately 40 standalone stores in Egypt. The retailer last month opened its first store in Ireland, also through a licensing deal. Aéropostale and licensee Shuz 4 U International Ltd., which is also behind the Skechers stores in Ireland, plan to open 10 stores in Ireland over the next five years.

In India, Aéropostale is launching its maiden store in India with drones and a  music festival a day ahead of the opening of the store at Select CityWalk mall in Delhi, under license from Arvind Lifestyle Brands. The drones mark the first such brand promotion in India.

In product licensing, Aéropostale recently pacted with Himatsingka America, which will design, manufacture and distribute home textiles such as bedding and bath linens using the Aéropostale label department stores, big box retailers and wholesale channels across North America.

Aéropostale, well known in the U.S. for its successful in-licensing deal with digital fashion celeb Bethany Mota, closed 23 stores in its fiscal second quarter, ended Aug. 27. While struggling, the chain has narrowed its losses. It posted a net loss of $43.7 million for the most recent quarter, compared to $63.8 million a year earlier, and a net loss of $88.9 million for the first half, compared to $140.6 million net loss in the first half of fiscal 2014. Quarterly sales slumped 17% to $326.9 million. First half sales were off 18%, at $645.5 million.


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