by Stephen Garner

American Eagle Outfitters has announced plans to expand its American Eagle and Aerie brands throughout Europe with a multi-year license agreement with AEO EU, a partnership of successful European brand builders, led by Sunil Shah.

The AEO EU team has more than 30 years of experience launching and growing brands across European markets through a multi-channel distribution network. Promoted by Sunil Shah, the team has launched and built several brands in Europe such as Pepe Jeans, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess Jeans, Esprit and Skechers.

The first American Eagle stores are expected to open in Ireland this summer. Following the opening of these locations, an e-commerce site serving the European Union will lay the foundation for a 3-year brick-and-mortar expansion strategy across Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, the UK, and the Netherlands.

“Global expansion is a major growth opportunity for AEO Inc. and we are excited to take our leading American Eagle and Aerie brands to vibrant consumer markets across Europe,” said Jay Schottenstein, chief executive officer of American Eagle Outfitters. “The AEO EU team brings deep market expertise and strong connections enabling us to create the best possible brand experience for local consumers.”

The company operates more than 1,000 stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, and Hong Kong, and ships to 81 countries worldwide through its websites. American Eagle and Aerie merchandise also is available at more than 200 international locations operated by licensees in 25 countries.