The American Eagle Outfitters customer is between 15 and 25 years old and part of the most socially conscious generation in modern history. These women and men are at the center of everything we do. They are our reason for being.
Our customer-focused point-of-view drives our business decision-making. We were among the first specialty retailers to enable customer reviews on our product website, whether positive or negative. We invest in technology such as mobile applications and social media tools that define our customers' way of life. We strive to anticipate our customers' desires and listen to their needs, which they often express in reviews and honest feedback on ae.com. Consequently, when customers told us that they wanted us to help make the world better, we listened. From the streets of New York City to the streets of Kuwait City; from the classrooms of Louisville to the classrooms of Hong Kong; from the beaches of L.A. to the beaches of Dubai - we work hard to be a brand that our customers are proud to wear because we are fun, laid-back, fashionable, adventurous, and striving to live our lives in a Better World.
The vitality of our brand resides in our people. We strive to be an employer of choice - a place where people are excited to come to work because they believe in what we do, enjoy working with each other, and have fun doing it.
Our employees, known as associates, reflect our diverse customer base with differing backgrounds, unique talents and eclectic tastes. More than 30,000 people worldwide work for American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. In addition to the thousands of people in our stores, we employ engineers, software developers, attorneys, fork lift operators, marketers, PhDs, store construction specialists, accountants, merchants, designers, warehouse supervisors, and many other skilled professionals in our corporate offices and distribution centers. More than half of our associates are younger than 25, enabling us to stay more closely connected to the demographic we serve. Not surprisingly, some of the best ideas about how we can make our world a better place have come from our associates - from how to reduce our environmental footprint to ways to improve the health and safety conditions in an apparel factory to how best to serve the communities where we live work, and play. For more information on what it's like to work at American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. please see Live Your Life Love Your Job.
As a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: AEO), American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. strives to deliver strong returns over the long-term to its investors. Our shareholders include associates, individuals, large financial institutions, socially responsible investment funds, and everyone in between.
Our goal is to provide those who have an ownership stake in our company with timely, transparent communications about business performance, as well as insight into how we plan to grow. We maintain a healthy balance sheet and strong cash position, while returning value to shareholders through a combination of share buybacks and dividends. In early 2011, we announced that AEO, Inc. would no longer publicly report monthly sales to facilitate a longer-term perspective on business growth. Retailers face many challenges, including variable consumer confidence, rising cotton prices, or adverse weather conditions. That said, our longstanding approach continues to be rooted in operational efficiency and financial discipline designed to withstand any external event or economic environment.
We partner with apparel manufacturers in more than 20 countries around the world, including the United States, to produce our products. Although we do not own or operate any of these factories, we firmly believe that the people who make our clothes should be treated with dignity and respect. We strive to build business relationships with apparel suppliers who share our commitment to worker safety and well-being and will work to meet or exceed national and international labor law standards.
We also work with a diverse array of transportation providers in our supply chain, including ocean and air freight carriers and freight forwarders and consolidators, who are critical to the timely and efficient movement of our merchandise.
Many of the social and environmental issues that we face in our global supply chain are too complex, too widespread, and too deeply embedded for any one company to resolve working alone. To that end, we also seek to build partnerships with other stakeholders who share our desire to build a Better World. Some of our key partners include the International Labor Organization (ILO)'s Better Work Program, the Fair Labor Association (FLA), local and global civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), trade unions, other brands and retailers, and government officials. Through their own vast networks of people and expertise, these partners help to keep us informed about issues and concerns in countries where our clothes are being made. Their diverse perspectives enrich our thinking, challenge us to examine social and environmental issues in a new light, and provide opportunities to pool our resources to tackle complex problems in a more sustainable way.
"We find social inspections beneficial because they help us build our reputation as a socially responsible business. Our customers tend to favor suppliers who demonstrate socially responsible policies. We've also discovered that good social and environmental practices help us reduce unnecessary resource consumption, waste and emissions - and save money. Reducing our utility bills and waste disposal costs brings us immediate cash benefits. There are other benefits, too. A good reputation makes it easier to recruit and keep employees. Employees are also better motivated and more productive. Investors recognize this and are more willing to finance our factory."
- A Chinese Supplier
Whether you are a customer, an associate, a shareholder, a supply chain partner, or another concerned stakeholder, we welcome your constructive ideas, thoughts, and opinions on how we're doing. Send us an email at: AEBetterWorld@ae.com.