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American Apparel commits to S.A.
Express News
Adolfo Pesquera
October 29, 2008

In keeping with the breakneck pace of its worldwide expansion, Los Angeles-based American Apparel has opened its second store in San Antonio.

Known internationally for making brand anonymity fashionable and for its socially activist stances on immigration and fair wages, American Apparel apparently believes San Antonio is a good fit.

Its first local store opened Oct. 11 in North Star Mall and the second opened Friday. It is one of the 18 new stores within the new wing of The Shops at La Cantera.

In a prepared statement for its North Star Mall opening, American Apparel said it "hopes that the steady growth of the city will carry over into its latest expansion."

The American Apparel brand, popular for the mix-and-match ease of its line, already was known among San Antonio's younger consumers, said Nick Dudek, interim store manager for the North Star store's grand opening.

"A lot of people were driving an hour away to Austin to buy," Dudek said. "People come to San Antonio for the culture. We think it's a prime location for those tourists, and even residents that are looking for something different."

American Apparel also hopes, Dudek added, that the company's pro-immigration campaign will resonate favorably with San Antonio's 58.7 percent Hispanic population.

In May, American Apparel expanded its position on immigration by launching its Legalize LA advertising campaign in support of legal residency for the city's 1 million-plus undocumented workers.

American Apparel is unusual among American clothing companies in that all of its manufacturing is domestic. A vertically integrated manufacturer, distributor and retailer, all garments the firm makes for men, women, infants, toddlers and dogs come from one factory in downtown Los Angeles.

Securing fair wages for its 10,000 employees involves pricing product at well above discount; a 3-pack of men's jersey long-sleeve T-shirts goes for $51 online. But despite that, American Apparel has bucked the trend of slumping sales.

While the U.S. Commerce Department reported retail sales down 1.2 percent in September -- the largest dip in three years -- American Apparel reported a 35 percent sales increase for comparable stores in September.

American Apparel opened 12 stores in September; by Sept. 30, it was operating 225 locations in 19 countries.

It may be one of the most popular brands people older than 40 never have heard of; American Apparel ranks first among the top 15 retail apparel advertisers online.
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