Casual clothing retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc has named Jim O'Donnell as its new CEO amid news of an 18.7 per cent slump in October same-store sales.

O'Donnell had shared the title with Roger Markfield, who is now vice chairman and president of the Pennsylvania-based company's American Eagle Division.

Markfield's duties will now include overseeing merchandising, design, production and marketing of the brand.

Commenting on the new appointments, company chairman Jay Schottenstein said American Eagle was "strengthening and redirecting" it's best talent in order to "turn around" the business.

"I'm pleased to have Roger sharply focusing on setting the strategic direction of the merchandising and marketing initiatives of the American Eagle brand, where his talent and accomplishments are proven," he said.

"Jim O'Donnell has demonstrated strong leadership and solid operating disciplines.

"I am confident that, as CEO, Jim will effectively lead a strategic turnaround and position American Eagle for sustained future growth."

The retailer, which also operates the Bluenotes/Thriftys chain, said the sharp sales decline was recorded throughout namesake stores open at least a year.

Total sales for the four weeks to November 1 fell 8.3 per cent year-on-year to $96.1 million.