Jan 13, 2021
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Urban Outfitters posts 8% decrease in holiday sales, announces CEO transition at namesake brand

Jan 13, 2021

Philadelphia-based lifestyle group Urban Outfitters, Inc. (URBN) reported on Tuesday that coronavirus-related restrictions led to an 8.4% year-over-year decline in its holiday 2020 sales, and revealed that Sheila Harrington will be taking over as CEO of its flagship Urban Outfitters brand.

URBN has seen reduced traffic in its stores due to restrictions imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic - Instagram: @urbanoutfitters

For the two-month holiday period ended December 31, 2020, URBN, which also owns the Anthropologie and Free People brands, posted a 9% decline in comparable retail segment sales, as double-digit digital growth and improved conversion rates failed to offset reduced store traffic resulting from measures implemented to combat the spread of Covid-19.
By brand, comparable retail segment net sales fell 8% at the company’s flagship Urban Outfitters banner and 12% at Anthropologie Group, but rose 1% at Free People. Wholesale segment sales declined 1% across the company’s portfolio.

In the 11-month period ended in December 2020, URBN saw its net sales fall 14.3% compared to the same period in the previous year. Comparable retail segment net sales decreased 12%, while wholesale segment sales declined 42%.
Since the start of the fiscal year, URBN has opened 18 new retail locations and permanently closed six. Six franchisee-owned stores have also been shuttered. The company currently operates more than 640 locations spread over the United States, Canada and Europe.
On Tuesday, URBN also announced that Urban Outfitters Group CEO Trish Donnelly will be leaving the company on January 31, 2021, so as to pursue a new career opportunity. She will be succeeded by Sheila Harrington, who currently serves as CEO of Free People Group, and will be adding the role of CEO of URBN’s namesake brand to her existing responsibilities.
Furthermore, current Urban Outfitters chief merchandising officer Gabrielle Conforti has been promoted to the role of president for North America at the brand. Emma Wisden will remain in her role as managing director of Urban Outfitters Europe, but will now also lead the Urban Outfitters brand wholesale business. Both Conforti and Wisden will report to Harrington.
“We thank Trish for her seven years of dedicated service to the Company. During her tenure she built a strong, talented team and the Urban brand grew revenues by over 10%,” said URBN CEO Richard A. Hayne in a release. “I congratulate Sheila, Gabrielle and Emma on their promotions and added responsibility.”

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