By Matt Pillar, Integrated Solutions For Retailers magazine
Aéropostale has become a venerable retail brand, having earned a reputation as the hip, yet valueminded outlet for teen fashion. The delicate balancing act between clothes cool enough for fickle teens but affordable enough for parental consent is a tight rope to walk, but it's been baked into the 24-year-old company's DNA. Today, the $2B operation runs 1,000 mall-based Aéropostale and P.S. from Aéropostale stores worldwide.
At the heart of the company's brand are its store-level associates, the vast majority of whom are teenagers. Julie Sedlock, group VP of store operations at Aéropostale, says that while happy, responsible teenage store associates are the company's brand representatives, the employment of thousands of them across multiple states and jurisdictions creates challenges. States like California and Rhode Island, with their complex laws governing the employment and scheduling of minors, require serious diligence on the part of employers. This is to say nothing of the myriad scheduling variables posed by minor employees themselves; key to Aéro's considerable effort to keep its employees happy is the accommodation of schedules around school hours, participation in sports and other extracurricular activities, vacations, and so on.