Urban Outfitters Is Acquiring Chain of Italian Restaurants

Urban Outfitters Inc., a retailer known for selling quirky clothes and housewares, is making an offbeat acquisition of its own: an Italian restaurant chain.

The Philadelphia-based company has agreed to purchase the Vetri Family group of restaurants, including Pizzeria Vetri, according to a statement on Monday. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The Vetri Family restaurant group was started by Marc Vetri, a chef trained in Italy, and business partner Jeff Benjamin. Urban Outfitters isn’t a stranger to food service -- some of its bigger stores include cafes -- but acquiring a restaurant chain is an unusual move for a large retailer. The idea is to use Urban Outfitters to help the restaurants expand while Vetri Family focuses on the food, Marc Vetri said in the statement.

“It’s a perfect match,” he said.

Urban Outfitters has made other moves to diversify its operations. In recent years, the company created a gardening-focused offshoot named Terrain and a wedding brand called BHLDN. It’s now using products from those divisions to expand the selection of home goods at its Anthropologie chain.

Sales in the broader retail industry remain sluggish -- partly because of a slowdown in foot traffic at U.S. malls -- and that’s weighed on Urban Outfitters’ stock. The shares have fallen 34 percent this year, including a drop of 6 percent on Monday. The company plans to report its quarterly earnings after the market closes.

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