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Urban Outfitters reveals management changes amid disappointing Christmas sales

Tom Shearsmith
13 January 2021

Urban Outfitters Inc., parent company of Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People, has revealed disappointing Christmas sales and announced its current Chief Executive Officer is to depart at the end of January.

During the two-month period ending 31 December, Urban Outfitters Inc said its total company sales fell 8.4% from 2019, while comparable store sales fell 9% due to declines in footfall because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lower store net sales were partially offset by strong double-digit growth in digital channel sales.

By brand, comparable store sales increased 1% at Free People, whilst reporting a decrease of 8% at Urban Outfitters and 12% at the Anthropologie Group. Wholesale segment net sales decreased 1%.

The company also announced group figures for the eleven months period ending 31 December 2020, with comparable store sales decreasing 12% due to mandated store closures as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and lower store productivity once opened.

The retail group also confirmed the departure of Trish Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Outfitters Group, who is reportedly leaving the business to pursue a new career opportunity.

Donnelly's departure has resulted in the promotion of Sheila Harrington, who will now become Chief Executive Officer for both Urban Outfitters Group and Free People Group.

Additionally, Gabrielle Conforti, currently the Chief Merchandising Officer for the Urban Outfitters brand, has been promoted to President, Urban Outfitters North America, and Emma Wisden will continue as Managing Director, Urban Outfitters Europe, and will lead the Urban Outfitters brand Wholesale business.

Richard A. Hayne, Chief Executive Officer, URBN, said: “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%. I congratulate Sheila, Gabrielle and Emma on their promotions and added responsibility.”

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