US-based American Eagle Outfitters has finally moved out of the United States and into the Canadian market with the opening of a new store at Limeridge Mall in Hamilton.

Last week the youth-focused retail chain opened the first of 46 shops that will occupy the former Braemar outlets it acquired from Dylex Ltd last year in a $115-million deal. The remaining 45 stores are all expected to be open by the autumn - including its 8,000-square-foot flagship store at Toronto's Eaton's Centre.

While putting pressure on its resources, opening so many stores in a short space of time is expected to allow the chain to better control its distribution and co-ordinate its advertising across the country. It is also hoped that this fast turnaround will give the company a head start on some of its competitors, including Old Navy, which are also poised to move into Canada. 

Moving into Braemar's old locations has also given American Eagle access to some of the best retail space in Canada.

Sales at the company have grown around 35 per cent annually, reaching US$1.1-billion last year.