Urban Outfitters Inc. is going green with a new non-apparel store concept.
The Philadelphia-based firm, which operates Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters, plans to launch a fourth brand early next year. While it has yet to be named, Richard Hayne, chairman and president, said in a statement that the "new concept is designed to appeal to men and women interested in a creative, sophisticated experience."
Hayne said that the new brand will borrow from the success of Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters.
"The fourth [brand] will also create a compelling shopping environment, this one inspired by the 'greenhouse,'" Hayne said in the statement. "Sites will be large and freestanding. Merchandise will include lifestyle home and garden products combined with antiques, live plants and flowers. We have an outstanding opportunity to serve the affluent consumer by offering a unique brand that overwhelms the senses with an eclectic product mix presented in a setting infused with beauty."
Urban Outfitters officials couldn't be reached for further comment.
Christine Chen, specialty retail analyst at Needham & Co. LLC, a San Francisco investment firm, said a new environmentally friendly store could be intriguing.
"They've made it very clear that this is a non-apparel concept, hence the word ';greenhouse,'" Chen said. "While it's too early to tell if this concept will work, it will be launched in 2008 as a test. It's meant to target the Baby Boomer who is affluent, has money and enjoys gardening, but is looking for something nicer than what they can find at Home Depot or Lowe's. I imagine the store will have things like pottery, antiques, outdoor furniture with a mix of living and nonliving items. It's certainly interesting and unique, which is something the company is very good at."
Urban Outfitters Inc.'s first-quarter earnings surged 45 percent, driven by solid sales of spring assortments. For the three months ended April 30, earnings rose to $29.4 million, or 17 cents per diluted share, from $20.3 million, or 12 cents, in the year-ago period, on sales that climbed 16 percent to $314.5 million from $270 million. Same-store sales for the quarter fell 2 percent. By division, quarterly comparable-store sales at Anthropologie and Free People increased 2 percent and 8 percent, respectively, and were down 5 percent at Urban Outfitters stores.Urban Outfitters Inc. operates 110 Urban Outfitters stores in the U.S., Canada and Europe; an Urban Outfitters Web site and catalogue; 95 Anthropologie stores in the U.S.; an Anthropologie Web site and catalogue, and Free People, the company's wholesale segment, which sells its product to about 1,500 specialty stores, department stores and catalogues, as well as through eight Free People stores, a Web site and catalogue.
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