Martin + Osa clothing stores, brand closing

| Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Martin + Osa is disappearing from American Eagle Outfitters Inc.'s lineup of clothing brands.

The South Side-based retailer said this afternoon it decided to close the chain of 28 stores, including a Ross Park Mall location, plus the online sales business.

The brand was designed for men and women in their late 20s through around age 40, and while its performance last year had improved from fiscal 2008, the company said it wasn't achieving performance levels that justified further investment.

In fiscal 2009, the company said, Martin + Osa generated an after-tax loss of about $44 million.

Stores are expected to close by midsummer. "Closing Martin + Osa was a difficult decision, particularly in light of the progress that was made over the past year," CEO Jim O'Donnell said.

The company said following the shutdown of the four-year-old brand, it will continue to focus on its AE, aerie and 77Kids brands, which have "a greater potential of creating long-term shareholder value." The company will report quarterly earnings Wednesday.

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