Amid tepid performances in every retail segment, Urban Outfitters managed to grow its 4Q sales by 5.7%, helped most by an 8% increase in comparable sales at Free People. I can’t say I am particularly surprised by UO’s performance in recent quarters, as I have contributed substantially to its growth in recent months.
Les Wexner, chairman/CEO of L Brands (admittedly not exactly a bright spot in retail), famously said that, “when a retailer doesn’t do well, I’d say … well, it’s traffic, it’s the environment, it’s the Internet, it’s catalogues, it’s Walmart … I mean, there are always reasons. And generally it’s the merchandise, stupid.” (Again, I love this quote and plan to explore it in more depth in the future.) I think UO’s recent performance (or more specifically, Free People’s) speaks to how fundamental the concept of “merchandise first” is. Without attractive and covetable merchandise, there’s a limited path for growth.
A current closet favorite is this Free People jumpsuit that I picked up some weeks ago during an extra 40% off sale (sizes have become limited online). It is a particularly demanding item to wear (I somehow found the will to fasten all the covered buttons on the day these photos were taken, but I doubt I’ll ever wear it this way again), even for a jumpsuit, but I love everything about it, from the floaty fabric, to the pretty floral print, to the (maddening) covered buttons.
|FP One Angel Wing Jumpsuit in Plum (size S) || Salvatore Ferragamo Ginny Score Medium Leather Shoulder Bag (reviewed here) || Hermes Reversible Belt (size 65) || J. Crew Majesty Peacoat (past season) || Ann Taylor Mila Leather Pumps (reviewed here)|
With another holiday weekend coming up, there is a sale roundup scheduled (will go live later today). If you can’t wait that long, check out LOFT (40% off storewide; extra 50% off sale styles), Ann Taylor (40% off storewide with code GETMORE; extra 50% off sale styles), Express (40% off everything + free shipping with code 3357), and Anthropologie (extra 40% off sale styles).