Tag: Outfitters’

Fashion Was Basically Dead Last Year, Urban Outfitters Says

Urban Outfitters / Via Facebook: urbanoutfitters

Urban Outfitters' CEO blamed a tough year in clothing sales on a dearth of fashion trends, saying the industry has finally cycled through all skinny pants have to offer.

“The last major fashion shift was 10 years ago when the skinny bottom returned to popularity,” CEO Richard Hayne said on an earnings call Monday. “Since then we've had all varieties of skinny: low-rise, high-rise, color, black, white, and print. Washed, sanded, sliced, and destroyed. Yoga and active, leggings, jeggings, and stretch.”

“Today, the customer has a closet full of various skinny bottoms and she has many many long tops and sweaters to go over them,” he continued. “Without a fashion need to drive her purchases, the customer can easily defer her apparel spend. Surely a major fashion shift is the cure for the current apparel malaise. I'm not predicting exactly when that change will come but I'm certain it will.”

Urban Outfitters, which also owns Anthropologie and Free People, saw sales increase in the fourth quarter for non-apparel merchandise like home and beauty. That reinforced Hayne's belief that retailers are grappling with a fashion issue, rather than challenges related to the rise of online shopping or increased competition from cheaper destinations.

“Obviously all these categories faced the same headwinds, so why then was apparel the outlier?” Hayne asked. “To me, the answer is simple. Fashion, or more accurately, the lack thereof.”

Urban Outfitters / Via urbanoutfitters.com

Executives at Gap and J.Crew have expressed similar woes in the past year, which has been challenging for apparel sales. It's been a particular slog for retailers that fall between H&M at one end and high-end designer names at the other.

Urban Outfitters reported sales of $ 3.4 billion for the year ended Jan. 31 across its brands, a 4% increase from the previous year. Anthropologie is its biggest brand with $ 1.44 billion in sales, followed by Urban Outfitters with $ 1.39 billion and Free People with just over $ 600 million.

The company has been working to expand its offerings in home, especially at Anthropologie, and acquired a group of Italian restaurants last year, making it less vulnerable to the whims of fashion “newness.”

“We've been with 'big over little' now for the better part of 10 years, and I think it's nearing the end of its life cycle,” Hayne said. “How long it's going to take to get through that cycle, I really can't tell you. I do see an awful lot of signs out there that would suggest to me that cycle has begun and certainly we all here hope it's sooner rather than later.”

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Why Urban Outfitters Is Buying A Gourmet Pizza Chain

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BuzzFeed – Business

Urban Outfitters Drops To 6-Year Low After Pivot To Pizza

The company isn’t spending all that much to acquire a chain of Italian restaurants, but that, combined with its results yesterday, left a bad taste in investors’ mouths.

Wall Street Journal / Via wsj.com

Urban Outfitters' stock closed at a six-year low on Tuesday, after the combination punch of reporting tepid earnings and announcing the acquisition of a gourmet pizza chain.

The acquisition of a group of Italian restaurants, including Pizzeria Vetri, was touted as a way to help drive traffic to stores yesterday, as well as a successful standalone concept.

“A big attraction of this concept is the enormous breadth of its appeal,” CEO Richard Hayne said on an earnings call yesterday. “Very young to very old, everyone loves great pizza.”

Academic research backs up Hayne's claim: everyone really does love great pizza. But Wall Street isn't shouting Mozzerella Tov just yet. Instead, the move has confused analysts and investors, and served as a warning shot for the retail industry.

The purchase represents an “overly optimistic solution to reverse a decline in sales momentum,” Eric Beder, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities wrote today. He added that the company is facing a “crisis of investor confidence.”

Worse, while the retailer's purchase might be viewed as a creative solution to declining foot traffic in malls, it served as “a form of affirmation that the traffic-dependent retail model is facing structural concerns,” Simeon Siegel, an analyst at Nomura Securities, wrote in a separate note today.

That concern was reflected in Urban's stock: After falling 7.4% on Monday it tumbled another 3.8% Tuesday, closing the day at $ 21.80. That's the lowest closing price since July 2009. Urban has lost more than $ 300 million in market value in the past two days.

Deliciousnessrules.tumblr.com / Via giphy.com

Urban Outfitters' purchase of the Vetri Family group of restaurants, which also includes higher-end Italian eateries in Philadelphia, cost less than $ 20 million, the company told Bloomberg News. The company's CFO, Frank Conforti, told the news outlet that it will spend only $ 1 million each to add new restaurants.

Hayne told investors yesterday that new locations “can be standalone restaurants or part of a larger retail complex.”

Urban Outfitters reported sales and earnings that missed analysts' estimates, amid weaker-than-expected customer traffic — something Nordstrom and Macy's also noted last week. In addition the company, which also owns Anthropologie and Free People, has been dealing with a shaky transition to a new fulfillment center, and is recovering from missteps at the Urban and Anthropologie brands.

“We wonder what the overriding need was to invest the company's capital when they could have probably franchised the restaurant expansion,” Beder of Wunderlich wrote of the company's decision to invest in the restaurants. “Frankly, it seems a poor use of company capital.”

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BuzzFeed – Business

Did Urban Outfitters’ New Fitness Brand Disappear?

The Instagram account for Urban Outfitters’ new Without Walls brand is gone, along with its blog and dedicated website.

An archived snap of Without Walls' site from Sept. 8.

Urban Outfitters / Via web.archive.org

Last year, Urban Outfitters splashily launched a new fitness and outdoors brand called Without Walls, selling items like $ 88 performance onesies, $ 68 jogger pants and $ 699 tents under its own label and from brands like Patagonia and The North Face.

Today, barely a trace of Without Walls can be found.

Its dedicated website and blog are gone, and its Instagram account is no longer available, BuzzFeed News noticed. Its Twitter account has been inactive since March, and URLs for Without Walls' blog posts and website reroute to the Urban homepage.

The nascent brand appears to have been folded into Urban Outfitters' own website, and is presently down to a single page of mostly discounted products.

The retailer has added a dedicated Without Walls FAQ to its site that says Without Walls credit and merchandise can be used at UrbanOutfitters.com and that the label will still be sold online and in stores, suggesting it will continue in a watered down form. Urban Outfitters, which also owns Free People and Anthropologie, declined to comment on the deletions.

Without Walls garnered plenty of attention after launching in March 2014. A snapshot of its Instagram page from April through Wayback Machine shows it had more than 70,000 followers.

“Without Walls was launched with significant hype and there was talk at the time of this potentially becoming a stand alone concept,” said Liz Dunn, CEO of retail consulting firm Talmage Advisors. “I thought the assortment was solid but it doesn't surprise me that their customer might not have been looking for that product from them.”

Without Walls’ Instagram account is gone.

Without Walls' Instagram account is gone.

Instagram: @gowithoutwalls / Via Instagram: @gowithoutwalls

The Twitter account has been silent since March.

The Twitter account has been silent since March.

Twitter: @GoWithoutWalls

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BuzzFeed – Business