Urban Outfitters

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Urban Outfitters, Inc.
Traded as
Founded1970; 48 years ago (1970) (as Free People)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
FoundersRichard Hayne
Judy Wicks
Scott Belair
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Number of locations
245 (February, 2018)[1]
Area served
  • United States
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Pakistan
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Austria
Key people
Richard Hayne (CEO)
  • Clothing
  • accessories
  • cosmetics
  • footwear
  • housewares
  • music
RevenueIncrease US$ 3.450 Billion (2014)[2]
Increase US$ 426.831 million (2014)[2]
Increase US$ 282.36 million (2014)[2]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 2.221  Billion (2014)[2]
Total equityIncrease US$ 1.694  Billion (2014)[2]
OwnerRichard Hayne (15.5%)[3]
Number of employees
25,000 (2011)

Urban Outfitters, Inc. is an American multinational lifestyle retail corporation headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It operates in the United States, Sweden, United Kingdom, Spain, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Israel and Pakistan. The Urban Outfitters brand targets young adults with a merchandise mix of women's and men's fashion apparel, footwear, beauty and accessories, activewear and gear, and housewares, as well as music, primarily vinyl records and cassettes. Much of the merchandise is designed and produced by the company's wholesale division on multiple private labels.

The company was founded as the retail store Free People by Richard Hayne, Judy Wicks, and Scott Belair in 1970 as a project for an entrepreneurship class at University of Pennsylvania.[4] It was renamed to Urban Outfitters and incorporated in 1976.[4]

Urban Outfitters, Inc. (URBN) carries multiple stores within the URBN portfolio of brands, which also includes Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain, BHLDN, and The Ventri Group.

Corporate identity[edit]

Urban Outfitters former UWS location in New York City

Urban Outfitters has been described as hipster, mall punk, stylish, kitschy, irreverent, bohemian, and retro.[citation needed] It carries sometimes odd merchandise, for example, T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Jive Turkey” or “Atari”.[5] 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, iets frans, 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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] For the same campus, Urban Outfitters received the 2007 Global Award for Excellence from the Urban Land Institute.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11][12] In response to the move, ombudsman Jimmy Ekman called for tougher laws to prevent other firms denying collective bargaining rights in this way.[13]

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.[14]

Urban Outfitters' products have also been the subject of multiple complaints and criticism, largely from religious, ethical, and ethnic pressure groups including a local chapter of the NAACP,[15][16] Anti-Defamation League[17] and Navajo Nation for some of their products.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e "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. ^ a b "History". URBN. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  5. ^ Philadelphia Weekly
  6. ^ Karen von Hahn, "Mama, don't take my Polaroid away", Globe and Mail, page L3, September 5, 2009
  7. ^ Center for Public Integrity
  8. ^ "NTHP Presents Honor Award To Urban Outfitters Corporate Office Campus". National Trust.
  9. ^ "ULI Announces Five Winners of the 2007 Global Awards for Excellence Competition". The Urban Land Institute.
  10. ^ "Urban Outfitters' Terrain". Design Philadelphia, March 2008.
  11. ^ "Sparkas efter krav på kollektivavtal". Aftonbladet, By Catarina Håkansson, November 27, 2009.
  12. ^ "Sparkas efter krav på kollektivavtal". Dagenshandel.se, By Jesper Stärn, November 27, 2009.
  13. ^ "Antingen skriver man på eller blir uppsagd". Svenska Dagbladet, By Negra Efendić, November 27, 2009.
  14. ^ "Pizza, Pants, Plants & Perfume? Mall Retailers Struggle To Find Winning Consumer Combo - CoStar Group". www.costar.com. Retrieved 2015-11-20.
  15. ^ "Game's street theme upsets NAACP"St. Petersburg Times
  16. ^ "Black leaders outraged at 'Ghettopoly' game at Urban Outfitters". USAtoday, 10/9/2003. October 9, 2003. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  17. ^ "ADL Welcomes Urban Outfitters' Decision to Discontinue Production of Offensive T-Shirt", Anti-Defamation League, January 9, 2004.

External links[edit]