Troubled teen apparel retailer Aeropostale isn't dying as quickly as some thought, which could be bad news this holiday season for rival chains American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) - Get Report and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) - Get Report .
In May when Aeropostale filed for bankruptcy, about 155 stores out of the 780 operated in the U.S. and Canada were expected to close quickly, with the number growing to 550 or so by mid-September. But since being bought by a consortium of Authentic Brands Group, Simon Property (SPG) - Get Report and General Growth Properties (GGP) for $243 million last month, more stores are in fact staying open, points out Oppenheimer analyst Anna Andreeva in a new note. Currently, Aeropostale has about 505 stores left open, with only half of the originally contemplated number -- 275 -- closed as more landlords are extending easy terms to the company.
That means Aeropostale will still be a major threat this holiday season to its long-time rivals given their overlap in malls across the country and likelihood of aggressive promotions ahead of additional store closures next year.
Andreeva estimates that nearly 70% to 80% of Abercrombie, the Hollister division of Abercrombie and American Eagle Outfitters domestically store based overlap with Aeropostale. American Eagle has the largest number of stores overlapping, meaning it could be hurt the most by Aeropostale staying in business longer than planned and offering deep discounts. The analyst used U.S. locations for Abercrombie, Hollister and American Eagle and overlaid those zip codes with the 275 Aeropostale closures and 505 remaining open to compile the data.
But Aeropostale it still expected to close about over a 100 stores next year, which will likely provide a sales lift to American Eagle and Abercrombie. Andreeva estimates that Abercrombie will see a $48 million sales benefit next year from Aeropostale's store closures, while $136 million flows to American Eagle.