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Urban Outfitters expands in UK and Europe

Urban Outfitters is set to open new stores in Cheltenham and Oxford in November and is expanding further into Europe, its European managing director Emma Wisden has told Drapers.

The US-based retailer has 50 stores in Europe, including 28 in the UK and Ireland. Urban Outfitters opened its third store in Israel earlier this week, in Eilat, and has increased its European store portfolio by more than 30% over the past 12 months as new stores have opened in cities including Vienna, Milan, Paris and Düsseldorf. Wisden said the retailer has identified several key markets of interest within Europe that it is underexposed in, which it will be pursuing imminently.

“Urban Outfitters is in the fortunate position of being one of the ‘disruptor’ brands in fashion at the moment,” said Wisden. “We are opening stores, not closing them, unlike so many of our neighbours on the high street. Ecommerce is, of course, increasingly important, so it is crucial to constantly evolve omnichannel shopping. However, bricks-and-mortar retailing isn’t going anywhere soon.”

The new 9,000 sq ft Oxford store will be at the Westgate shopping centre, which reopened last year, while the Cheltenham store will be 8,000 sq ft at the newly extended Brewery Quarter.

Wisden said both stores will feature exposed building structures and industrial details, along with striking displays and fixtures. They will be gender-neutral environments, hosting an extensive offer across womenswear, menswear, homeware, lifestyle and gifting.

Own label accounts for approximately 80% of Urban Outfitters’ range, complemented by emerging brands and exclusive collections, said Wisden: ”Athleisure brands such as Fila, Champion and Tommy Hilfiger remain key for us. However, our USP is that we offer a curated and exclusive edit of these that cannot be found elsewhere.”

Wisden said Urban Outfitters’ core customer is in their early 20s and looking for experiences they cannot get elsewhere. It recently launched a new series of in-store experiences, offering customers the chance to meet local social media influencers.

She added: “For our first event in Düsseldorf, nearly 1,500 customers visited the store to meet a local digital influencer and to shop her edit of favourite UO product. We are excited to launch even more of these experiential pop-ups later this summer, each offering a unique influencer and edit for our customers to shop and interact with. For us, retail is experiential, personal and inclusive.”

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