Aeropostale has been floundering.
Sales have been down quarter after quarter. For the most recent quarter, comparable sales were down 6.7 percent compared to this time last year. Net sales were down 16.1 percent.
Aeropostale had a bad year, as it stands. Comparable sales for all of fiscal 2015 were down 8.6 percent, and net sales for all of fiscal 2015 were down 18 percent. One reason for the company’s downslide, according to Conlumino analyst Håkon Helgesen, is that it “remains that it is firmly out of favor with the fickle younger consumer.”
But the company has been trying to boost its appeal to young people. The retailer secured popular 20-year-old YouTube personality Bethany Mota for her own collections in 2014. At the time, CNBC pointed out that “her new line [was] critical because Mota has been successful precisely where Aeropostale has fallen short: drawing a large and growing audience that appreciates her fashion advice.”
On the surface, it all seemed promising. Mota curated a blog with a Pinterest-friendly aesthetic, and Teen Vogue — a destination for stylish teens — has even promoted some of her collaborative efforts in the past.
Mota is illustrative of the modern-day millennial mogul. Mota, who initially rose to stardom thanks to her strangely compelling “haul” videos, has roughly 5.5 million Instagram followers and nearly 10 million YouTube followers. Her more personal YouTube channel, “Bethany’s Life,” has over 2 million followers. She appeared on “Dancing With The Stars” in 2014 and has even dabbled in music.
She’s obviously managed to capture social media-obsessed teens. So why can’t she capture Aeropostale’s customers?
Piper Jaffray surveyed teens this past fall find out where they are — and aren’t — shopping, in its semiannual Taking Stock with Teens survey.
Aeropostale ranked at the top for brands that upper-income females no longer wear. Between 22 percent and 32 percent of teens surveyed over the past two years say they no longer shop there.
According to Piper Jaffray’s survey, upper-income teens prefer Nike, followed by Forever 21. In third place is American Eagle.
But teens, as a demographic, are becoming increasingly less likely to shop for apparel. They’d prefer to spend money on technology, like iPhones, or on experiences, as Jason Dorsey has told Business Insider. Aeropostale needs to convince teens to shop in its stores, but also to shop more in general.
Worse, Aeropostale’s competitors (including the maligned Abercrombie & Fitch) are faring better than it is.
“As we have said before, Aeropostale is the weakest of the ‘three A’s,” Helgesen wrote, comparing it to the solidly performing American Eagle and the slowly but surely turning around Abercrombie & Fitch. “Being the weakest player in a weak market is a very uncomfortable position and it is one that could yet lead to the eventual failure of the chain. The latest results do nothing to change this view: the jury is still out on whether Aero has a place in the market over the longer term.”
This story originally appeared on Business Insider. Copyright 2016