Struggling to understand your people? So is Anthropologie, according to Barron’s…

Is Anthropologie laughing with us or at us?
It just doesn’t get its customer lately, according to Barron’s.

Anthropologie parent company Urban Outfitters will hold its quarterly earnings call tomorrow and ahead of that Barron’s has a pretty scathing article about the state of things with our favorite wayward retailer.

The article contains amusingly massive understatements like “Anthropologie seems to have misread consumer culture” while missing some of the greater reasons why, yet nailing the simple truth: the clothing has been too expensive lately considering the weird designs and poor quality materials.

I know this article was mentioned in the comments while I was on vacation but I wanted to give it its own post for further chatting. We’ll go into deeper dissection once the quarterly call transcript becomes available, but I do wonder how Anthropologie seems to keep drifting further away from its target even as the corporate heads assure investors and analysts that they’ve got it right this time?

As a customer, it’s disappointing. I don’t find their designs to be particularly youthful or edgy — certainly when I was 18 or even 25 this was not the way I wanted to dress — but I am somewhat bemused that Anthro seems to keep chasing the most awful trends (cropped, off-shoulder, shapeless, etc.) while completely forgetting what made them so appealing in the first place. All it takes is reading the feedback about their clothing — this thread is particularly startling in its bold dissent — to know that we are not alone in our headscratching in this community. Seems like there is a loud majority asking Anthro to go back to what works!

Isn’t it quite odd to anyone else that Anthropologie made its mark by producing items different from other retailers, yet seems so desperately now to want to mirror other retailers’ offerings? No one is winning with that strategy, least of all loyal Anthro lovers!

You’re way too young of a company to be having a midlife crisis Anthropologie. Give up trying to capture the youth you never had and be who you are — a confident, wandering, imaginative soul who doesn’t dress herself in sad sacks.



  1. PHG
    March 6, 2017 / 6:10 pm

    I started liking Anthropologie a little later than a lot of this community and I loved shopping there for a few years… but in the past year or so I'll walk in the store or go online and not find much I like. I originally thought it was because my life situation changed but reading a lot of the comments here maybe it wasn't just me, they are just offering things that don't appeal anymore!

  2. Becky
    March 6, 2017 / 10:08 pm

    I agree there are some gems among the fug that's why I haven't given up entirely. Did you see free people catalog? Every page socks with sandals ughh new hipster trend I guess

    And wtf is this? Literally a shower curtain styled as a dress

  3. LouLou
    March 7, 2017 / 12:26 am

    I can't believe I'm admitting to this, but since I can't find much that I like in the stores I have been scouring ebay for items that I wish I had gotten from Anthropologie in years past. It's actually been fun. Got a Floreat Sunglow Caftan that I can't wait to wear.

  4. Amy
    March 7, 2017 / 12:37 am

    Last time I went into the store I told the SA that the selection this spring is not appealing. She responded, “We have heard that but once you try on the pieces they look better then on the hanger. It's the new bold”. I guess that's what they are going after these day, “looking better then on the hanger”. I have tried on several items and most of it is ill fitting. Its wide and cropped and excessive fabric in the wrong places. Where are the beautiful dresses I used to go gaga over? The prices are clearly going up to play the discounting game without taking a huge hit on margin.

  5. March 7, 2017 / 2:53 am

    Didn't they send out a survey at some point a year or two ago that had a bunch of sweaters in it, lots of them with cold shoulders, asking questions like would you buy this, how much would you pay, etc? I remember filling out that survey and basically saying “I will pay money for natural fiber sweaters that don't have holes in them because omg it's winter i'm wearing this to stay warm not be ironic” and I'm 90% certain those sweaters still ended up in stores. I felt like that was the beginning of the end, for me.They need to do those types of surveys or market studies again and actually listen.

  6. Amy
    March 8, 2017 / 1:26 am

    Well ladies the report is in and it is as anticipated. Earnings are -12%, revenue is at +2%. This is a clear sign that discounting was heavy. Without the heavy discounting they would've never made the 2% increase in revenue. Earnings would have been better, but still not in the black. I guess they had to take their shots and still show some positivity. I feel sorry for their buyers, they are begging for cash from their suppliers and the Spring assortment is going the same direction.

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