Urban Outfitters goes into the Pizza Biz
Steve’s breakdown: Jumping the Shark or Just crazy enough to work? Either way, they’ll need some help with brand development for what’s to come out of Pizzeria Vetri. Read on . . .
PHILADELPHIA, PA: How about a slice of pizza with that $54 Stapleford Black Watch plaid flannel shirt?
Urban Outfitters, whose shares have fallen 35 percent this year as it has struggled with a downturn in store traffic, on Monday turned to an unlikely spark to fatten its bottom line: a Philadelphia pizzeria.
The retail chain, which runs the Anthropologie and Free People chains in addition to its namesake business, said it bought Pizzeria Vetri, a three-location operation that also runs three Italian restaurants.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The challenged retailer reported on Monday a disappointing 1 percent rise in same-store sales in the three months ended Oct. 31. Shares in the 566-store chain tumbled as much as 12.6 percent in after-hours trading — to $19.81, a new 52-week low — after falling 7.4 percent in regular trading.
Urban is “less fashion-forward and its edge of competition has faded,” wrote Wunderlich analyst Eric Beder in a research note.
The retailer hopes to ring up extra dough by unveiling a new store design in 2017 — one that will feature a café, pizzeria and garden center, said Chief Executive Richard Hayne.
“We are excited to add food service to our brand portfolio,” Hayne said during a conference call with Wall Street. “Everyone loves great pizza.”
It isn’t the first time the apparel retailer looked to pizza for a turnaround, The Post has learned. Two years ago it looked to buy New York City-based Two Boots Pizza.
“Their plan was to bring in other local artists into a new store model they were working on,” said Two Boots founder Phil Hartman, who said the timing wasn’t right for him.