American Eagle on Thursday announced changes to the fitting room experience and the assortment itself for its Aerie lingerie brand.
In an effort to improve fit, Aerie has launched new bra designs and also developed a measuring tape that it says is less invasive and more effective at finding the best fit, the company said in a press release.
The launches coincide with a new campaign, "Aerie Bras Make You Feel Real Good," along with a body confidence training program for store staff developed in partnership with The National Eating Disorders Association, the company also said.
American Eagle's Aerie has challenged sexy lingerie stalwart Victoria's Secret with bra designs that are pretty but comfortable and marketing that eschews photo manipulation.
"Aerie's inclusive marketing and proposition continue to resonate with consumers, probably more so now than ever before," GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders said in comments emailed to Retail Dive in May. "This is allowing it to take share from Victoria's Secret and from troubled channels like department stores."
But the brand doesn't seem content to rest on its laurels, nor should it. Shoppers can find pretty, comfortable and performance-athletic underwear at plenty of other brands, including Gap's new Love brand and J.Crew's new intimates line, along with ranges from online upstarts like Everlane, Adore Me, True & Co, Lively and ThirdLove. Stitch Fix now also has an add-on for its women's boxes called Stitch Fix Extras, a curated collection of camisoles, shapewear, underwear, tights, bralettes, bras and socks featuring brands like Wacoal, Free People and Hanky Panky, as well as the company's private label, Everyday by Stitch Fix. Not to mention the high-performing and often stylish items available from athleisure retailers like Lululemon and Gap's Athleta.
The newcomers like Lively and ThirdLove have made fit a key selling point, and that's Aerie's new pitch as well. "From product innovations, to a new body confidence associate training program, we are reinventing the way we design and sell products that empower women," Aerie Global Brand President Jennifer Foyle said in a statement.
But its body confidence program goes beyond fit. It is designed to create a judgment-free shopping experience, the company says. That also points to an advantage that Aerie has but the online upstarts don't — stores. Earlier this year, American Eagle executives said that Aerie is delivering sales from younger shoppers as well as their moms, giving the brand its 15th straight quarter with same-store sales growth. There's even greater opportunity to gain new customers now that Aerie stores are increasingly located next to flagship stores, with a doorway between them.