Urban Outfitters Company Report

Urban Outfitters is a company that started its operations about thirty-nine years ago. The company deals with retail business focusing on lifestyle products.[1] Its headquarters is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company is among the best performers in terms of profitability.[2] Consequently, Urban Outfitters Incorporation received recognition for a list of accomplishments including third-party partnerships and new product categories. The company was ranked 9th among the top 50 companies in 2014 in the Apparel Magazine List.[3] The company was highly boosted in the rankings due to global expansion plans and outlet development.

The operations of Urban Outfitters Incorporation have been successful owing to the use of two segments of its business: retail and wholesale. Segments within the retail division comprise the holding company, which is Urban Outfitters together with the Anthropologie Group, Free People, and Terrain brands. The products of the firms as mentioned above sell directly to customers through the available retail outlets.To diversify the means of generating revenue, the companies use customer care centers, websites, and phone applications to reach a wider target market. The wholesale division is Free People, which deals primarily with designing, developing, and marketing of young women’s apparel. The women’s apparel is then sold to specialty stores including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Selfridge.

The retail segment, as mentioned above, consists of the brands made by the four companies that are Free People, Terrain, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie brands. The target market for Urban Outfitters is young adults (18 to 28 years of age). The company sells fashion apparel, beauty products and accessories for both men and women. The company also sells electronics and apartment wares.[4] The number of retail outlets operated in the United States is 179. There are 43 stores in Europe and 16 in Canada. Stores are situated close to university communities, malls, and metropolitan areas. These enable buyers to get easy access and buy whatever they might need.

The Anthropologie Group diversifies itself by offering its products through two brands, the Anthropologie, and Bhldn.[5] Anthropologie’s target market is women aged between 28 and 45. For the products from Anthropologie, women can get decorative items, home furnishings, casual apparel, and accessories. Stores are mainly located in malls and streets to ease access.The Anthropologie brand also provides a catalog of select products sold in northern states. The segment is well diversified in meeting the requirements of its clientele by continually making improvements to the products it already offers.

The Bhldn brand offers wedding collections.[6] Current operations include 185 stores in the US, 12 in Canada and 7 in Europe. The selection of products takes place through websites operated in the northern states. Phone applications, websites, and stores offer registry services in the United States.  Services through the websites and applications help in reaching out to a wider client base. Customers are convinced through the advertising done on the sites resulting in a platform for business creation.

Free People retail stores do offer products that are label-branded to young women who are aged 25 to 30. Their product mix is in the range of shoes, active wear, and accessories. Store locations are in malls, streets, and retail centers. There are 98 stores in the United States, and four are in Canada.

The Terrain brand is for men and women with an interest in innovative outdoor living.[7] The products include a wide variety of decorative items and home furnishings. Landscape and design services are also available to its customers. Free People division makes up the wholesale segment. The division is the designer, developer, and marketer of casual wear for young women. Their range of products includes sweaters, dresses and shoes, sold in over 1600 stores in cities such as London in the United Kingdom and Tokyo in Japan.

Urban Outfitters employ a variety of marketing strategies. One such strategy involves planning by retailers to enable selling an enormous percentage of products when marked down.[8] In the process, a perception becomes evident in the minds of shoppers in that they can wait for the prices of the commodities to drop before they buy. A strategy of buying in with a sense of urgency is created among customers and has worked for Urban Outfitters. The company sales growth is promoted by providing decision makers with a complete supply chain visibility from design to delivery. It enables them to effectively manage the exceptions and respond to changing consumer needs.

The “concept-to-market” strategy has been effective in terms of reducing the time between designing and shelving of products. The concept tries to estimate the average number of days a product is likely to take on the shelves before customers buy it.[9] From this statistic, the number of products to be manufactured as well the economic quantities of material to be ordered can be established. The organization can monitor its costs by only placing orders upon the completion of stocks in the stores.

A revamp in Urban Outfitters’ supply chain management has enabled it meets rapid growth demands. The uses of well-orchestrated strategies, diligently planned, have been instrumental to Urban Outfitters. Decisions regarding sourcing help in the growth and strategic positioning of the company.[10] Planning helps the company to achieve rapid growth. Urban Outfitters uses a dual sourcing strategy. Different locations in which fabric and raw materials come from follow a process of alternation so that the time needed to reorder is compressed.[11] Consequently, the initial order undergoes manufacturing in one place and reorder in another. Dual sourcing in the company has led to the delivery of less quantity up front and enabling optimization of inventory.

Focus takes Urban Outfitters to the Far East where sourcing of private brands products occurs from many suppliers. Half of the products sold by Urban Outfitters are private brands.[12] The designers initiate the process of merchandise. The merchandise moves on the merchants of raw materials with the production person taking it to the agent who helps facilitate the production process. The merchandise is then delivered to the factory. The relationship between Urban Outfitters and its agents is of great concern. These relationships give Urban Outfitters opportunities to its agents tighten turnaround times on production[13]. Training sessions for agents working with the brand are held domestically and internationally. To ensure they remain goal oriented. Urban Outfitters incorporates agents removed from its chain by having partners on the ground who are aware of what is to be achieved.

Restructuring has also been taking place in the technological processes. A new information management system for the wholesale division has been implemented in several distribution centers. The new system is beneficial since it provides all information required to the individuals charged with the responsibility of making decisionsas noted by Ann Diamante, the chief product officer at TradeStone. TradeStone is a private labels solution that works with Urban Outfitters.[14] Product visibility at various points in the lifecycle are also possible. The use of software has filled the gaps in Urban Outfitter’s existing system by integrating bar-coded labeling from a branch like TradeStone into the warehouse management system. There is also provision of a more efficient warehouse locator system locator.

Under the agreement for certification, Urban Outfitters’ vendors agreed to conduct business in compliance with the law. The issues involved wage compliance, safety and health, environmental laws and lastly working hour’s requirements. The labels working with Urban Outfitters needed to meet environmental sustainability needs so that customers and designers alike could be aware of the impact of a garment had on the environment.[15] Sustainable fashion is a concern for Urban Outfitter’s retail outlets, and there has been a change in the image of sustainable clothing through the creation of exclusivity and luxury.[16] Exclusivity and luxury enable the production of products that match the customers’ taste. Moreover, customers can embrace the environmental friendly brands of Urban Outfitters. However, complaints regarding the treatment of employees surfaced in 2009 when the company denied its employees a collective bargaining agreement after declaring them redundant. Ultimately, tougher laws were called for to punish companies that would fail to honor their promise in such circumstances.

Urban Outfitters has a hierarchical management. Consequently, various job categories in turn determine the level of education required. For instance, if we take the example of a management job, there are different categories that an individual can apply. The categories include stores manager and merchandise manager.[17] Therefore, each of the jobs would require different academic qualifications as well as the relevant years of experience for a job applicant to convince the interview panel of his credentials.

In conclusion, the success that Urban Outfitters has achieved as a company is due to the efforts put to realize its mission including embracing innovation in product development, sourcing, and supply management. Despite a few challenges witnessed in terms of lawsuits brought against the company, other aspects of the operation are promising for such a top organization.











Amit, R., &Schoemaker, P. J. (2012).Z STRATEGIC ASSETS AND ORGANIZATIONAL RENT.StrategischeManagementtheorie, 14, 325.

Glassdoor (2015).Urban outfitters Merchandising Manager.Retrieved on 12 July 2015, from,16.htm.

Grant, R. M. (2010). Contemporary strategy analysis and cases: text and cases. John Wiley & Sons.

McCue, D. (2008, September). Urban Outfitters Sales Into to Wind.Inbound Logistics. Retrieved from

Porter, M., &Siggelkow, N. (2008).Contextuality within activity systems and sustainability of competitive advantage. The Academy of Management Perspectives22(2), 34-56.

Reuters (2015). Urban Outfitters Inc (URBN.O). Author. Retrieved from

Speer, K. J. (2014, June 30). The Apparel Top 50 for 2014. Apparel. Retrieved from

Walton, T. (2007).An Environmental Perspective on Brand Design.Design Management Review, 18(2), 6-9.

[1]Reuters (2015). Urban Outfitters Inc (URBN.O). Author. Retrieved from

[2] Speer, K. J. (2014, June 30). The Apparel Top 50 for 2014. Apparel. Retrieved from

[3] Speer, K. J. (2014, June 30). The Apparel Top 50 for 2014. Apparel. Retrieved from

[4] Grant, R. M. (2010). Contemporary strategy analysis and cases: text and cases. John Wiley & Sons.

[5]Reuters,URBN.O, Author.

[6]Reuters,URBN.O, Author.

[7]Reuters,URBN.O, Author.

[8] McCue, D. (2008, September). Urban Outfitters Sales Into to Wind.Inbound Logistics. Retrieved from

[9] McCue,Urban Outfitters, Inbound Logistics.

[10]Amit, R., &Schoemaker, P. J. (2012).Z strategic assets and organizational rent.Strategische Management theorie, 14, 325.


[11]Porter, M., &Siggelkow, N. (2008).Contextuality, within activity systems and sustainability of competitive advantage. The Academy of Management Perspectives22(2), 34-56.

[12]McCue, Urban Outfitters, Inbound Logistics.


[13]Reuters,URBN.O, Author.

[14] McCue, Urban Outfitters, Inbound Logistics.

[15]Walton, T. (2007).An Environmental Perspective on Brand Design.Design Management Review, 18(2), 6-9.

[16] Reuters,URBN.O, Author.

[17] Glassdoor (2015).Urban outfitters Merchandising Manager.Retrieved on 12 July 2015, from,16.htm.


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