My Part in Aeropostale’s Fall

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Aeropostale Houston Galleria

Below is an article I wrote a year and a half ago (March 25, 2015) on the crumbling foundations of teen retailers, with a focus on Aeropostale.   This past week as I visited four malls in Houston, TX I felt repercussions of their struggles.  Although in reality only a little over a quarter of their locations are closing based solely on lack in profit, it felt as if the entire chain was biting the dust as each and every location I saw donned the signs seen in this picture.

Click here for a complete list of store closures from fortune.com.

 

 

Investors have lost hope in the recovery of teen fashion retailer Aeropostale “after 10 consecutive quarters of negative same-store sales.” -Morgan Stanley analyst Kimberly Greenberger.  I look back at the week I had my daughter and I found my maternity pants slipping but my pre-preggo jeans too tight so our first outing was to the mall to purchase a fitting pair of jeans.  Aeropostale has always been my go to in the jean department as they are affordable and simple in design.  When I arrived though I found the entire wall of jeans stocked to the brim of only sizes 0 and 00.  Now by no means am I large woman, but how many 00’s are there in the world that, that is the only size you are pushing?  I turned to talk to an associate but the one standing not two feet from earshot of my complaints was flirting and kissing her boyfriend, and the two behind the register were consumed in gossip.  I was beyond annoyed and swore I would write a letter to corporate, this was a high traffic and high grossing mall after all, and I was not the only customer with concerns in the store at that time.

The letter was never written.  The idea was lost on me after a month or two.  Some may consider me high maintenance as a customer, but there are reasons for my beliefs.  My mother was also a district manager, and when I would come home in high school, feeling customer service fell short she would say, “complain to corporate.”  I would shrink at the thought, I’d hate for someone to be written up, or worse lose their job over something I said, who am I?  “If you were the owner of that store, would you want to know if your customers were mistreated?  Wouldn’t you want to know why your numbers are slipping?”

To be honest after the jean debacle I never returned to an Aeropostale, and instead seek conservative affordable Jeans elsewhere, at shops like Old Navy.  But as I read about their downfall I begin to feel guilty, having been in the hot seat of those managers and DM’s.  Your numbers are crashing in a store and you have no idea why, and then it becomes an epidemic.  Where are we falling short day to day?  What are we lacking in our training?  I could have brought to a DM’s attention the stock levels and the lack in customer service so that they could jump into damage control.  They could have had a starting point.

Could I have saved the entire company?  Of course not, but I know that I am not alone in staying silent.  I know there have been other people like me out there who thought, something needs to be done about this, but never moved forward to offer their thoughts or feedback.

So I ask you, do you have any complaints you have not gotten around to voicing?

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102503231#.

Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/

7 thoughts on “My Part in Aeropostale’s Fall

  1. Susan Landry says:

    Whenever I have an especially positive or negative experience, I try to voice it somehow. Moving back north after living with southern manners for 10 years was a rude awakening! The first week we were up here, I asked a clerk a question and he just looked at me and said, “What?” I almost leapt across the counter and said, “Did you just say ‘what’ to me?” in my best southern teacher voice. My favorite (sarcasm font) is when you walk up to a counter and the staff is talking to each other and they completely ignore you. That’s fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ljaylj says:

    I recently had an opportunity to thank a store manager for several employees assistance. Last month, though, I complained to a manager about an employees attitude and lack of assistance. She said, “believe it or note, she was the best I could come up with out of everyone that applied for the job.”
    Sadly, I believe it may be a societal issue…entitlement mentality doesn’t promote customer service.

    Like

  3. Annie Emmy Evans says:

    If I’m really frustrated with the service I receive, I make sure I write a review either on their website, or on Yelp or Google. Vice versa, I also do it if I receive awesome service. And whenever I’m at a restaurant, if the server and food is phenomenal, I make sure I leave a detailed note on the receipt letting them know how much I appreciated their service. It’s not always convenient, but I know from working in retail how much that praise can mean. And… how helpful the criticisms can be when done tactfully. Great post!

    Like

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