Cash-flush American Eagle Outfitters Inc. is shelling out yet again for a mission-critical supply-chain partner. CEO Jay Schottenstein said the company’s second logistics acquisition in roughly two months is all about enabling “brand success.”
The specialty retailer’s $350 million cash deal for Quiet Logistics, which has fulfilled online orders for M.Gemi, Outdoor Voices and Bonobos, supports the jeans seller’s focus on “agility, speed and diversification,” Schottenstein said in a statement Tuesday. Quiet was owned by Greenfield Partners, a property investment and logistics specialist, and Related Companies LP, a real estate and lifestyle company known for large-scale neighborhood development and the force behind Hudson Yards.
“Quiet Logistics has provided significant benefits to AEO over the past year and we are leveraging our healthy cash position to ensure ongoing advantages,” he said. “Also, as we continue to expand these services to other brands and retailers, we believe the business will scale, generating incremental value for our shareholders.”
The move follows the youth-centric merchant’s August deal for AirTerra, the Nordstrom alum-founded Seattle logistics startup helping mid-tier retailers compete for the last mile against their larger rivals.
American Eagle had hinted of a follow-up deal when chief operating officer Michael Rempell told analysts on its second-quarter earnings call that logistics investments were “paying off” and it saw additional opportunities to “become even faster, more agile and more efficient.”
Quiet Logistics’ state-of-the-art technology and robotics manage order fulfillment for AEO and other consumer brands. Six centers in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, St. Louis, Mo., and Jacksonville, Fla. strategically position inventory while enabling cost-effective same-day and next-day delivery to end consumers and stores.
The Massachusetts company will continue working with brands outside of American Eagle, similar to the retailer’s arrangement with AirTerra. The deal, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close before Jan. 1.
“We’re excited to join forces with AEO, a fellow industry innovator, to accelerate the adoption of leading edge fulfillment solutions. Through a shared distribution network, our customers gain significant operational advantages, enabling them to focus more intently on increasing the value of their brands and products,” said Eugene “Gene” Gorab, Quiet Logistics’ executive chairman.
Quiet is taking steps to distinguish itself with a focus on sustainability. A honeybee hive is now buzzing at its LEED-certified Dallas fulfillment center, thanks to a partnership with urban beekeeping company Alvéole that “bring[s] additional purpose to our facility’s urban environment and increase[s] opportunities for our employees to connect with the northwest Dallas community in new and eco-conscious ways,” the company wrote on LinkedIn.
And for American Eagle, supply-chain tech is paving the way forward. “Our vision is to create an on-demand, hyper-scaled operations platform that enables brand success,” Schottenstein said.
Additional reporting by Jessica Binns.