Anyone who shopped at an Eddie Bauer store this year should be on the lookout for unusual activity in their payment card account statements, the chain has warned.

The company announced that the point-of-sale system at its more than 360 retail stores in Canada and the United States had been infected with malware.

The malware infection could have given hackers the ability to access customers' payment card information. 

Payment card information used for online purchases at eddiebauer.com was not affected.

"We have fully identified and contained the incident," said Eddie Bauer CEO Mike Egeck. "In addition, we've taken steps to strengthen the security of our point of sale systems to prevent this from happening in the
future."

Free ID protection offered

Eddie Bauer says its terminals were infected on various dates between Jan. 2 and July 17 this year.

The retailer says not all cardholder transactions were affected. But it says it will offer free identity protection services for a year to all customers who made purchase or returns during that six-month period.

Eddie Bauer said it is in the process of notifying customers whose payment card information may have been accessed.

The company said in a release that the malware intrusion was "part of a sophisticated attack directed at multiple restaurants, hotels and retailers, including Eddie Bauer."