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Urban Outfitters Explores New Concepts

Philadelphia Urban Outfitters CEO Glen Senk last week disclosed a series of initiatives for the company’s Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters banners. These include everything from entering new categories to creating different retail formats and concepts.

Senk told Women’s Wear Daily that there are about 12 concepts the company is thinking about right now. A board meeting is slated for April to focus on these ideas.

"If you asked me two years ago if we were going to be in the garden-center business, I'd have said you're out of your mind," he said, referring to Terrain, the company’s fourth retail concept set to hit next month.

Urban Outfitters' results bode well for the first quarter, which Senk said is "nicely ahead of last year in plan. We remain optimistic, yet appropriately cautious. Given the economic environment, we believe this is a time for conservatism, and are planning our business accordingly.”

Senk called the fourth quarter "the pinnacle in what was a turnaround year," noting that total company sales increased 29% to $465.4 million. Total same-store sales rose 11%.

By division, Anthropologie's comps were up 18%, Free People had a 19% increase, and Urban Outfitters saw a 6% rise, "signaling an exciting recovery in the business," Senk said. Direct-to-consumer sales increased 39%.

Total sales for the year were $1.5 billion, a 23% increase over the previous year.

During the year, the company opened 16 Urban Outfitters stores, 15 Anthropologie stores and seven Free People units. Plans call for 45 to 49 new stores in fiscal 2009.

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