Urban Outfitters Hopes To Be Cool Again By This Fall

Comparable sales fell for a third straight quarter while rising at Anthropologie and Free People, the retailer said Monday.

Urban Outfitters, which is still struggling to right its namesake brand, hopes it’ll get there by this fall.

The company said Monday that Urban’s comparable sales fell 12% in the three months ending April 30, following a 9% drop last quarter, and a 1% drop in the three months ending Oct. 31. Urban is the retailer’s biggest chain; it also owns Anthropologie and Free People, which continued to see sales soar in the first quarter.

Urban noted in March that its namesake brand “has moved somewhat south in terms of age group penetration,” saying that it planned to restructure the chain and bring in cooler, higher-quality merchandise to win back 18- to 28-year-old customers. Urban CEO Dick Hayne said on an earnings call today that the product assortment “is slowly improving” and that it’s “certainly becoming less one-note and more focused on our core young adult customer.” Still, the business will continue to be promotional in the next few months, with improvements targeted for the back-to-school season.

“The Urban teams have been working diligently to build a fresh product assortment and marketing plan we believe will resonate with our 18- to 28-year-old customer base this fall,” Hayne said today. The retailer hopes Urban can “course correct and rejoin its sister brands as a top performer.”

Urban Outfitters has enlisted the help of Meg Hayne, the CEO’s wife, to rehabilitate the brand. Meg Hayne has been a key executive at the retailer since the 1980s, and is also the president of Free People.

Meg Hayne noted on today’s call that Urban has revamped its imagery online, and is finding success in marketing “head-to-toe” outfits to customers.

“We are working on a look and a voice that is unique to Urban Outfitters, and it goes above and beyond the product,” she said. “We are focused on our customer’s lifestyle and life stage.”

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