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Urban Outfitters Chases Bohemian Shoppers Online

Retail net sales at Urban Outfitters grew 5 percent in the second quarter
Retail net sales at Urban Outfitters grew 5 percent in the second quarterPhotograph by NetPhotos

After a couple of years of falling same-store sales, things at Urban Outfitters—owner of Anthropologie and Free People, as well as the eponymous youth-oriented brand—are starting to turn around, helped by booming online shopping for hip threads like graphic tees and babydoll dresses.

Comparable retail net sales (which includes online sales) have grown for two consecutive quarters at all three brands, with a 5 percent bump at Urban Outfitters in the most recent period, a 9 percent rise at Anthropologie, and 38 percent surge at Free People. That’s a lot of vintage-style fashion. Although the company continues to open stores around the world, Urban Outfitters cites the Internet as a particular focus and reports faster-growing sales online than in its stores. “We really started to think about ourselves as a pure play e-commerce company that happened to have really great, productive, differentiated stores in 500 locations around the world that’s relevant for our consumer,” said Matthew Kaness, chief strategy officer for Urban Outfitters, during a conference in June.