Urban Outfitters makes anticipated Paris debut with first store

On February 21, Urban Outfitters kicked off its official arrival in France. Following the launch of successful concession stores in Paris department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and BHV Paris in 2013, the US fashion and lifestyle brand has finally put roots down in the French market with the opening of a debut store in Paris, on the famous rue de Rivoli. 


The store located on rue de Rivoli. - FashionNetwork

"We were looking for a specific location and wanted to attract young locals, not just tourists," explained Emma Wisden, Europe managing director for Urban Outfitters. "On rue de Rivoli, there is a lot of traffic and we felt good about being here."

Setting up between Mango and Intersport, the new 900-square-metre store is spread over two levels, and is distinguished by a clean aesthetic. The teen retailer has the habit of investing in obscure locales, being abroad and setting up on an old cinema or theatre. Much like its other global stores, the decor of the Paris flagship is visually raw and strong; leaving the ventilation ducts visible, and scaffolding-like carriers and artistic installations characterising each space. The furniture and wooden structures were made on site, the shop has its own carpenter.


Plants and arty installations fill out the space - FashionNetwork

Founded in Philadelphia in 1970, Urban Outfitters' Paris store will stock women's and menswear, lingerie, jewellery, beauty products, homewares, gadgets and even plants. The interesting part of the concept is the inclusion of other brands: with some 60% of the offering being own-brand, a number of labels will also be sold here and act as special collaborations.

In Pars, the opening night on February 21 was open-invite and attracted an impatient crowd. The event was also put on to celebrate the launch of a capsule collection with Champion. While inside, other brands present included Fila, Kappa, Calvin Klein, Obey and Herschel. Nineties influences and the 'athleisure' trend were also strongly evident on the night.


The store has a large central canopy - FashionNetwork

The retailer operates 200 stores across the globe, with some 50 of these in Europe. And while the retailer's network suffers somewhat in the US, the Continent is ready for more openings. 

"In the space of nine months, we have opened six stores in Europe, with three entering new markets: Vienna in Austria, Milan in Italy and now Paris," explained the director. "We are still under-exposed in Europe. I think we could double our reach in the years in to come, but are taking our time to find good locations for each new store. A goal of six new stores per year seems reasonable."

In France, Urban Outfitters hopes to see its network grow and is already looking at other store openings in Paris.

The fashion offering mixes references and draws heavily on sportswear - FashionNetwork

The retailer is focused on 18-25 year olds, and has already measured the expectations and desires of its French fans via its e-commerce site, which opened in 2010. UO has been delivering product to France since 2006. 

While the brand does not disclose turnover made online in France, Emma Wisden said that the volume of orders made is substantially the same as in Germany, where Urban Outfitters already has nine stores. Hence, the interest in settling (finally) in Paris.

Translated by Benjamin Fitzgerald

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