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Quality clothing for younger tastes is the hallmark of American Eagle Outfitters, the South Side-based company that is expanding this year with new stores, a brand for little ones zero to 18 months and a high tech approach to shopping.

This month AEO announced the opening of seven 77kids brick-and-mortar stores, including the first 77kids store at The Mall in Robinson this week and creative new concepts in retail marketing. The new little77brand offers a "cool" collection of denim, graphic tees and hoodies for the smallest of tots.

77kids elevates shopping to play. Each store features a "denim canyon" and interactive games projected onto the floor. Touch screens allow customers to see their reflections and interact in a make-believe world of animated characters, or see how outfits look virtually on a paper doll. Or play DJ. Or get a glimpse at the look-at-what-I-got video marketing approach on YouTube and sign up for the smart phone-jean giveaway.

AEO employs 559 people in the corporate office and 769 regionally including the stores. Worldwide the company has 36,000 associates in stores, distribution centers and the New York Design Center, says a company spokesperson.

While the company--and retail clothing overall--has taken a hit in the last few years, AEO is moving forward with expansion plans across the country and in Asia. By the end of 2010, AEO will have added 14 new AE stores, nine new aerie stores and completed 25 to 35 remodels.

The company also is expanding into Dubai and Kuwait, has plans for Hong Kong and Beijing in 2011 and Israel in spring of 2012.

"We believe that our location in South Side Works will help American Eagle Outfitters retain top talent in Pittsburgh as well as attract the best people from other cities across the country and even overseas," says a company spokesperson. " We believe in Pittsburgh and the quality of life that city has to offer our employees."

Writer: Debra Diamond Smit
Source: Stephanie Oschwald, American Eagle Outfitters

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American Eagle Outfitters
77 Hot Metal Street
South Side, PA 15203
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