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Casual

-clothing retailer joins mall

The trendiness meter is headed up another notch at the Rogue Valley Mall.

American Eagle Outfitters, a national clothing chain in the same vein as Eddie Bauer, Miller's Outpost and the Gap, will open Thursday on the mall's lower level, next to Miller's Outpost.

It's kind of a cross between Eddie Bauer and Miller's Outpost, says Jill Ditty, mall marketing director.

American Eagle features casual clothes, accessories and shoes targeted at 16- to 34-year-olds. Its clothes will be featured this fall in the popular teen television show Dawson's Creek.

Though the mall may seem to be amply stocked with casual clothes for younger crowds, Ditty and company officials say there's space for another one.

That's the line of apparel that consumers are buying, Ditty said.

That's common, a company spokeswoman said of sharing a mall with other big players. But American Eagle Outfitters offers a unique style.

American Eagle, based in Warrendale, Penn., and founded in 1977, has 428 stores in 43 states. Most are east of the Rockies but it is rapidly expanding west.

The Medford store will be Oregon's first, though stores are scheduled to open within the next month or so in Eugene's Valley River Center and Portland's Clackamas Town Center. The company's first California store, in San Francisco, opened last month.

The company also produces catalogs and sells its wares online at

American Eagle, traded on the Nasdaq as AEOS, had $145.4 million in sales during the first quarter of 1999, a 45 percent increase from its first quarter last year. The company has yet to report second-quarter earnings.

The company has weathered some controversy in recent months. Abercrombie & Fitch, one of its leading competitors, filed a lawsuit against American Eagle, accusing it of copying Abercrombie & Fitch's style. The lawsuit was dismissed last month, though Abercrombie & Fitch has said it plans to appeal.

American Eagle is the second national clothing chain to open a store at the mall this summer, joining the Gap, which opened in June. A national women's clothing chain, Christopher & Banks, will open a store on the mall's upper level next to Bath & Body Works in September, according to Ditty.

It's been our goal to try and attract some of the larger national chains and it's been successful, she says. We're loving it.