Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters, Inc.
Traded as
Industry Retail
Founded 1970 (1970)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

Headquarters Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Number of locations
401 (May 2012)[1]
Area served
  • United States
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
  • Spain
  • Italy
Key people
Richard Hayne (chairman)
  • Clothing
  • accessories
  • cosmetics
  • footwear
  • housewares
  • music
Revenue Increase US$ 3,450.608 million (2014)[2]
Increase US$ 426.831 million (2014)[2]
Increase US$ 282.36 million (2014)[2]
Total assets Increase US$ 2,221.214 million (2014)[2]
Total equity Increase US$ 1,694.17 million (2014)[2]
Owner Richard Hayne[3] (15.4%)
Number of employees
25,000 (2011)

Urban Outfitters, Inc. is an American multinational clothing corporation headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It operates in the United States, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom and Spain. Its inventory primarily consists of women's and men's fashion apparel, footwear, beauty and accessories, activewear and gear, and housewares, which largely draw from bohemian, hipster, ironically humorous, kitschy, retro, and vintage styles. Their targeted group is young adults aged 18 to 28.[4] The company has additionally collaborated with designers and luxury brands on several occasions. Urban Outfitters manages five separate brands, including its namesake, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain, and BHLDN; together, the brands operate over 400 retail locations worldwide.[5] Today, it sells its product to approximately 1,400 specialty stores and select department stores.[6] Other than that, merchandise is sold directly to customers through websites, mobile applications, catalogs and customer contact centers.[7] As of January 31, 2015, total of 238 Urban Outfitters stores are operating, in which 179 are located in the United States, 16 are located in Canada and 43 are located in Europe.[7]


The company was founded by Richard Hayne, and Scott Belair in 1970, and was renamed and incorporated in 1976. On March 15, 2001, the company reclassified shipping and handling revenue into net sales.[8] On January 23, 2014, Wendy Wurtzburger, who "was instrumental in developing Leifsdottir, a brand that Anthropologie sold in select units and wholesaled to Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom", left Urban Outfitters.[9] In April 2011, the company decided to sell Liefsdottir through its own company.[9]

Corporate identity

Urban Outfitters SoHo location in New York City
Urban Outfitters in West Edmonton Mall

Urban Outfitters has been described as hipster, stylish, kitschy, irreverent, bohemian, and retro . It carries sometimes odd merchandise, for example, T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Jive Turkey" or "Atari".[10] They are known for catering to "hipster" culture and fashion, which incorporates influences from past decades. In house brands include Kimchi Blue, BDG (Bulldog), Pins & Needles, Sparkle & Fade, Silence + Noise, Coincidence & Chance, Deena & Ozzy, Ecote and Staring at Stars.

Urban Outfitters in Halifax, Nova Scotia

In 2011, it agreed to sell limited editions of Polaroid ONE600 instant cameras and Type 779 instant film in partnership with the Austrian entrepreneur Florian Kaps, who acquired the rights to manufacture 700 copies of the defunct product.[11] In January 2013, it hired the Abraham & Roetzel lobbying firm, led by former Republican Sen. Spencer Abraham, to advocate on its behalf in Washington, D.C., regarding retail industry policy.[12]

In 2007 Urban Outfitters received the National Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the Urban Outfitters Corporate Office Campus located on the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.[13] For the same campus, Urban Outfitters received the 2007 Global Award for Excellence from the Urban Land Institute.[14] In March 2008, to introduce its new Terrain brand, the company entered the Philadelphia Flower Show and won the Alfred M. Campbell Award, the Conservation Award, People’s Choice Award and Best in Show.[15]

In Q4 2015, the company announced plans to acquire Pizzeria Vetri, an eatery. As the company is facing declining same store sales and foot traffic, the acquisitions illustrates the retailer’s shift in strategy. There are two Pizzeria Vetri locations in Philadelphia, with three more locations scheduled to open up over the next year.[16]


Product controversies

Urban Outfitters' products have been the subject of multiple controversies, largely stirred up by religious, ethical, and ethnic pressure groups.

Labor practices

On November 27, 2009, the firm drew the attention of the Swedish press for denying collective bargaining rights to employees at their Stockholm store by making all 38 workers redundant and re-hiring them through employment agency Academic Work.[55][56] In response to the move, ombudsman Jimmy Ekman called for tougher laws to prevent other firms denying collective bargaining rights in this way.[57]


  1. Urban Outfitters Announces Leifsdottir to be Sold Exclusively at Anthropologie
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "URBAN OUTFITTERS INC 2014 Annual Report Form (10-K)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. April 1, 2014.
  3. http://www.4-traders.com/URBAN-OUTFITTERS-INC-11245/company/. Retrieved 2016-10-19. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. https://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=URBN
  5. http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/urban-outfitters-inc-history/
  6. http://investor.urbn.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=115825&p=irol-irhome
  7. 1 2 http://biz.yahoo.com/e/150401/urbn10-k.html
  8. "Urban Outfitters Reports Fourth Quarter and Annual Results".
  9. 1 2 Edelson, Sharon (27 January 2014). "Wendy Wurtzburger Exits Anthropologie". WWD. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  10. Philadelphia Weekly
  11. Karen von Hahn, "Mama, don't take my Polaroid away", Globe and Mail, page L3, September 5, 2009
  12. Center for Public Integrity
  13. "NTHP Presents Honor Award To Urban Outfitters Corporate Office Campus". National Trust.
  14. "ULI Announces Five Winners of the 2007 Global Awards for Excellence Competition". The Urban Land Institute.
  15. "Urban Outfitters' Terrain". Design Philadelphia, March 2008.
  16. "Pizza, Pants, Plants & Perfume? Mall Retailers Struggle To Find Winning Consumer Combo - CoStar Group". www.costar.com. Retrieved 2015-11-20.
  17. "Game's street theme upsets NAACP"St. Petersburg Times
  18. 1 2 "Black leaders outraged at 'Ghettopoly' game at Urban Outfitters". USAtoday, 10/9/2003. October 9, 2003. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  19. Paynter, Susan. "Fashion statement sends a hurtful message", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 28, 2004
  20. "ADL Welcomes Urban Outfitters' Decision to Discontinue Production of Offensive T-Shirt", Anti-Defamation League, January 9, 2004.
  21. "Urban Outfitters At It Again", Anti-Defamation League, March 15, 2006.
  22. Washington Times March 22, 2004 http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/mar/22/20040322-092410-2758r/
  23. "‘Dress-Up Jesus’ Creator Reacts to NBC 10 Story", NBC 10 Philadelphia
  24. "Urban Outfitters dumps 'Jesus Dress Up". AFA. Archived from the original on October 6, 2005.
  25. "Magnet "Toy" nearly Destroys all Mankind". NormalBOBsmith.com.
  26. Site quotes Washington Times
  27. Retailer under fire
  28. The Philadelphia Inquirer
  29. Urban Outfitters: Blog
  30. 1 2 Kim, Kibum. "Where Some See Fashion, Others See Politics", The New York Times, February 11, 2007.
  31. "Iconic Palestinian headdress brings colourful clash to Beirut", Agence France-Presse, December 7, 2008.
  32. Ramer, Alison Avigayil. "Fashion wars / U.S. store pulls 'pro-violence' Palestinian T-shirt", Haaretz, May 22, 2008.
  33. "Are Brooklyn Fashion Designers Being Ripped Off By Urban Outfitters?", May 27, 2010.
  34. Johnson, John (June 3, 2010). "'Eat Less' T-Shirt In Bad Taste". Newser. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  35. Odell, Amy (June 4, 2010). "Urban Outfitters Stopped Selling Its 'Eat Less' Shirt Online". New York. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
  36. "Not Cool Urban Outfitters, Not Cool.", May 25, 2011.
  37. "Urban Outrage", Regretsy, May 27, 2011.
  38. "Urban Outfitters Offers Jewelry Identical To Independent Designer's Line", Consumerist, May 26, 2011.
  39. "Navajo calls out Urban Outfitters for its products", Associated Press, October 18, 2011.
  40. "Urban Outfitters pulls 'Navajo' name from website", Associated Press, October 19, 2011.
  41. Irish-Americans' fury over 'arrogant and disrespectful' novelty St Patrick's Day T-shirts at Urban Outfitters
  42. Wong, Curtis (March 19, 2012). "LOOK: Urban Outfitters Greeting Card Causes Outrage". Huffington Post.
  43. "Anti-Defamation League slams Urban Outfitters over shirt featuring perceived Holocaust imagery". Fox News. April 23, 2012.
  44. http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=24268690
  45. "An Open Letter to Urban Outfitters Regarding Their Che Guevara Merchandise". Human Rights Foundation. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  46. Halvorssen, Thor. "An Open Letter to Urban Outfitters Regarding Their Che Guevara Merchandise". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  47. Carrasquillo, Adrian. "Urban Outfitters removes Che Guevara merchandise after outrage". NBC Latino. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  48. http://guardianofvalor.com/urban-outfitters-decides-ranger-scroll-fashion-accessory/
  49. Stampler, Laura. "This Is The Urban Outfitters Shirt That Has People Going Apoplectic". TIME Business. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  50. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126423778
  51. http://www.people.com/article/urban-outfitters-kent-state-sweatshirt
  52. http://www.kent.edu/news/kent-state-statement-regarding-urban-outfitters%E2%80%99-sweatshirt
  53. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/02/10/urban-outfitters-sells-tapestry-eerily-reminiscent-of-holocaust-garb/
  54. http://www.businessinsider.com/anti-defamation-league-calls-on-urban-outfitters-to-stop-selling-holocaust-garb-2015-2
  55. "Sparkas efter krav på kollektivavtal". Aftonbladet, By Catarina Håkansson, November 27, 2009.
  56. "Sparkas efter krav på kollektivavtal". Dagenshandel.se, By Jesper Stärn, November 27, 2009.
  57. "Antingen skriver man på eller blir uppsagd". Svenska Dagbladet, By Negra Efendić, November 27, 2009.

External links

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