Urban to Launch Bridal Concept
By Tom Ryan
Urban Outfitters Inc.
announced plans to launch a new concept focused on the $60 billion wedding
industry. According to the company’s research, the average wedding costs
$45,000, with the bride alone spending $4,500 on clothing and accessories.
The idea for creating
a brand aimed at weddings grew out of the company’s existing business,
which frequently catered to brides and their entourages. An online site
will be launched for the as-yet-unnamed business by Valentine’s Day, with
a store to open later.
“We think this is going
to be a meaningful business,” Glen Senk, chief executive officer, told
analysts on a conference call announcing fourth-quarter results. “Anybody
we talk to about this goes, ‘Wow, that’s exciting,'” he said.
The wedding concept will
sell heirloom gowns that cost between $1,000 to $5,000. A design team from
Anthropologie as well as guest designers will create the gowns. Mr. Senk
also plans to offer bridesmaids’ dresses, jewelry, shoes, accessories and
“We want to offer a community
for brides,” he said. “Travel services, wedding planning and flowers are
things we could potentially offer. We’re trying not to be just about selling
products. We want to help the bride plan the wedding.”
Success with the bridal
business will be part of a long-term strategy of growing by creating six
to eight "meaningful" brands. The company is well known for limiting stores
for its Urban Outfitter and Anthropologie chains to support demand. The
company also operates the Free People stores and wholesale business, a
Terrain garden center in Glen Mills, and the Leifsdottir wholesale line
that will also be soon opening its first store in New York City.
The company is expanding
its European presence and is laying the groundwork to move into the Far
East in 2012 or 2013. Mr. Senk said he envisioned international sales eventually
amounting to 25 percent to 35 percent of the company’s business.
J. Crew has also been
moving aggressively into the wedding business over the last year. Net-A-Porter,
the online luxury site, also launched a wedding boutique in February.
Questions: What do you think about Urban Outfitter’s testing of a bridal
concept? Is a specialty store such as Urban Outfitter’s well suited
to pursue the opportunity? Are the current and emerging generation
of brides looking for a different retail experience?
Outfitters to start a wedding brand – Philadelphia
- Urban to Enter Bridal
– Women’s Wear Daily (sub. required)