Going after Cebu’s teen buyers

AMERICAN apparel giant Aeropostale opened in Cebu last week, with hopes of setting up a total of 12 stores this year in the country.

The brand, exclusively distributed by Stores Specialist Inc., a member of the Rustan’s Group of Companies, currently has seven stores. Its branch in the new wing of the Ayala Center Cebu is its sixth store.

The mall-based brand entered the Philippine market last year. For the rest of this year, the brand is opening more outlets, mostly located in Manila, but there will be one in General Santos City.

According to Lindsey Madrid, merchandising manager of Aeropostale Philippines, the expansion is driven by the country’s booming retail sector, increased consumption spending, a good population of young professionals and partnerships between local entrepreneurs and foreign brands.

“We feel that there is a big market for this brand in Cebu. Since we soft-opened on April 23, the reception of the market has been good. We are very happy to open in Cebu,” said Madrid.

Network advantage

In earlier interviews, Anthony T. Huang, SSI executive vice-president, reported SSI posted double-digit growth in the past three years, the reason they are expanding their business aggressively.

“We have a strong retail network and infrastructure throughout the country. We are ideally positioned in the Philippine market as we expand more international brands here,” said Huang.

He added the integration of Southeast Asian economies at the end of the year will open more opportunities to retailers.

“The benefit the Asean integration will bring to our industry is the fact that there will be a whole lot more cross-border trade and therefore, a whole lot more cross-border travel and tourism that will increase the market size for the retail business not only in Manila, but in other destinations like Cebu and the rest of the Visayas and Mindanao as well,” said Huang.

‘Trend-right’ but affordable

Aeropostale, Inc. is an American shopping mall-based specialty retailer of casual apparel and accessories, principally targeting those 14 to 21 years old and, through its P.S. from Aeropostale, those four to eight years old.

“We are a relaxed lifestyle brand that is not fashion-forward but trend-right. We offer consumers wearable and comfortable casual apparel and accessories at an affordable price,” said Madrid. The brand has four seasonal collections, with new arrivals coming every three weeks.

The 390-square meter Aeropostale store in Ayala Center Cebu is supposed to evoke a vintage feel with New York-inspired artwork, and “features innovative, current technology to offer a better teen shopping experience.”

Madrid said its sister-brand P.S by Aeropostale will open in Manila by the third or fourth quarter this year.
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