Urban Outfitters group sees profits drop in first half of the year

The Urban Outfitters group’s start to the year has failed to live up to its performance a year ago. The US giant, owner of namesake brand Urban Outfitters as well as Anthropologie, Free People, and Nuuly, had seen its turnover increase by 9.3% during the 2019 financial year but has reported a sluggish start to its current fiscal with revenue down by 1% to $1.826 billion.


Urban Outfitters’ autumn 2019 collection - Urban Outfitters

The second quarter showed a more pronounced decline in sales than the first with a decline of 3% globally. “The second quarter results are disappointing,” said Trish Donnelly, global CEO of Urban Outfitters. “The Urban Outfitters brand posted negative sales of 5% on a like-for-like basis, due to an underperformance in the women’s ready-to-wear segment.”

During the first six months of the 2019 calendar year, as of July 31 2019, the business’ profits dropped significantly by 30.7%, settling at $92.9 million, compared to $134 million reported for the first half of the 2018 calendar year. Group president and CEO Richard Hayne explained that “sales and margins below our expectations” led to “higher year-over-year markdowns and lower margins,” and that “lower store traffic accentuated negative store comp performance and weighed on overall results.”

The performance of the group’s brands was not the same across the board as Urban Outfitters saw a 4.2% drop in turnover to $671 billion but Anthropologie, which is set to open two stores in Paris’ Opera and Marais districts, remained stable at $749 million. Free People saw a slight increase of 1.1% to $392 million over the first half of the year.

From February 1 to July 31, the group added seven new global stores to its total of close to 600 and closed another five. The Philadelphia-based business is looking for answers as to why fashion purchasing behaviour is changing. The business thus launched Nuuly in the US on July 30, a business that facilitates subscription-based clothing rentals. 

Despite the group’s rather flat start to the year, the Hayne remains confident and stressed that the third quarter of the year looks more favourable.

“I am pleased to announced that the reaction of our customers to our early autumn offerings has improved significantly compared to our second quarter results," he said. "Third quarter sales are currently positive for our three brands.” 

Translated by Erin Floyd

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