The buyers at Urban Outfitters, a one-stop shop for whatever is currently on trend, are looking outside the U.S. for the next big thing by offering a new collection of international brands. Named “Around the World,” the just-launched store-within-a-store offers hard-to-track-down labels like France’s Le Mont St. Michel, New Zealand’s Stolen Girlfriends Club, and Denmark’s Wood Wood.
Urban must be betting that two factors — limited quantity and the otherwise inaccessibility of many of the labels — will move consumers in the U.S. to purchase, because the Around the World clothes and accessories are priced significantly (check out the $430 “Aztec” dress) higher than the store’s other offerings.
The chain has landed an enormous amount of indie designer collaborations in the past few years (Corpus, Geren Ford, and Kova & T to name a few); we think that the Around the World lines will further bolster the store’s cred as a source for unique and cool apparel, and could drive sales despite the higher price stickers. We’ve seen evidence that consumers these days are buying fewer staples, preferring to spend their cash on “special,” “unique” items — like, for example, J. Crew’s $1,195 ponchos, or the higher-priced American heritage brands that J. Crew has added to its menswear line.
Urban CEO Glen Senk said in an interview last month that he and the rest of the staff “focus our energies on the customer experience: innovating, making beautiful products, really pushing the limits of our brand expression and constantly refining how we operate.” And thus far, this strategy appears to be working — in a report released in August, the company revealed that despite the economy, the company’s earnings were up 46% this year.