March 6, 2013, 5:20 PM

American Eagle’s annual web sales grow 25%

The company will open a new Internet fulfillment hub and close about 25 stores.

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It was a good year online for American Eagle Outfitters Inc., and going forward the retailer plans to invest more heavily in e-commerce as it closes more stores.

For the fiscal year ended Feb. 2, American Eagle, No. 65 in the 2012 Internet Retailer Top 500 reported:

  • Web sales increased year over year 25% to $467 million from $373.6 million.
  • Total sales grew 11.5% to $3.48 billion from $3.12 billion in 2011.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 9%.
  • Net income increased year over year 53.0% to $232.1 million from $151.7 million.

The web accounted for 13.4% of total sales compared with 12.0% in the prior year.

As a part of a $250 million to $280 million capital improvement program this year, American Eagle intends to open a new e-commerce distribution center in the spring, CEO Robert Hanson told analysts on the company’s year-end earnings call. Hanson didn’t provide details and American Eagle didn’t immediately return a phone call asking for follow-up information.  American Eagle already has fulfillment centers in Warrendale, PA, two hubs in Ottawa, KS, and one Canadian distribution center in Mississauga, Ontario.

American Eagle also will close about 25 stores in the next year and reduce its total store network to about 1,044 locations from about 1,069 stores in 2012. In 2012 the company closed about 41 stores and opened 16 new locations, primarily overseas.

For the fourth quarter:

  • The company didn’t break out specific numbers, but says e-commerce grew 24%.
  • Total sales increased year over year 8.7% to $1.12 billion from $1.03 billion
  • Comparable-store sales increased 4%.
  • Net income increased 84.8% to $94.8 million from $51.3 million.
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