Notes from Urban Outfitters’ Q2 2018 Earnings Call

Anthropologie’s parent company Urban Outfitters held its quarterly earnings call earlier this week. After the awful results of Q1, how did they do in Q2?

Better than expected as it turns out — but still not well. While the market (likely mostly short sellers) reacted by sending URBN stock to its highest spike in 22 years, the company itself admits it is disappointed in its results for Q2.

First, the numbers.

“Total company or URBN sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2018 decreased 2% versus the prior year. The decline in sales resulted from a 5% decline in URBN retail segment comp, which was partially offset by a strong 10% increase in Free People Wholesale sales and a $13 million increase in non-comp sales including the opening of three net new stores in the quarter.

Within our URBN retail segment comp, the direct to consumer channel continued to outperform our store channel driven by increases in sessions and conversion rate, which more than offset a decrease in average order value. Negative comp store sales resulted from declines in average unit selling price, transactions and units per transaction. Store traffic for the quarter was flat with declines in North America offsetting growth in Europe. By brand, our retail segment comp rate increased by 3% at Free People, while Anthropologie declined 4% and Urban Outfitters declined 8%. Our URBN retail segment comp, while negative in each month during the quarter is slightly improved from month to month throughout the quarter.”

For the quarter, Urban Oufitters beat both analysts’ earnings estimates and revenue estimates. The company reported earnings of 44 cents per share, beating the consensus estimate of 37 cents per share. Net income was $50 million for the quarter. Urban Outfitters saw revenues of $873 million, topping estimates of $863.87 million but declining 2% year-over-year.

Analysts were expecting Anthropologie’s comparable sales to fall 8%, but they only fell 4.4%, so the market considered this a huge win yesterday. Good news? Not really — sales still fell 4%!! The home side of the business continues to grow in revenue while the apparel side continues to be the anchor pulling the brand down.

Even the corporate leadership couldn’t hide its disappointment:

Richard Hayne – Chief Executive Officer:

“Thank you, Trish. Thank you, David and good afternoon everyone. Let me say at the outset that URBN’s overall second quarter performance fell far short of our expectations. A very slow start for the quarter led to disappointing results in Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters in North America. At the same time we saw excellent comp sales gains at both larger brands in Europe with the women’s apparel category particularly strong. In North America however, the underperformance was driven primarily by the women’s product. In addition, decreases in total comp store sales more than offset the positive sales delivered by the wholesale segment and the direct to consumer channel.

It’s obvious that the environment surrounding apparel or retailing in North America over the past year has been quite challenging. However, as we noted on our investor call in May and I continue to believe the top line shortfall in our two larger brands in North America came mostly from poor execution rather than macro headwinds. I am quite confident that there was and still is sufficient newness in women’s fashion to drive positive comp sales. The good news is that both of our larger brands made considerable progress during the second quarter in re-positioning their women’s assortments. As both Trish and David noted their brands have recently registered and improved trends in regular price selling within women’s apparel. Both brands are currently delivering nicely positive women’s regular price comps in their respective direct channel. And I believe both have opportunity to show further improvement as the back half of the year progresses.

My optimism about sufficient fashion stems from the Free People’s downward performance during the second quarter. A 3% retail segment comp in today’s environment is a noteworthy accomplishment. But 3% understates the real strength of the Free People business since the brand did not anniversary some of the markdowns and the promotions taken in the same period last year. Those markdowns were needed last year to clear excess inventory. This year’s retail segment comp inventory is both leaner and fresher, down almost 14% at cost. Free People’s positive comp in Q2 was driven almost entirely by strong regular price women’s apparel sales. The reduction in markdowns combined with improvements in IMU led to better maintain margins as well.

Expanding wholesale and growing internationally are opportunities we believe exists not just a pretty for Free People but across all URBN brands. During the quarter the Anthropologie brand signed its first wholesale distribution agreement for Anthro home product and will begin shipping to John Lewis in the UK during the third quarter. We believe there are additional domestic and international wholesale opportunities for both the Anthropologie and Urban brands. International retail is also a growth vehicle. As Trish mentioned the Urban brand opened three new stores in Europe during the quarter including the brand’s first store in Vienna which produced the highest opening day sales of any Urban store in Europe. Additionally, the company plans to sign several international franchise and joint venture agreements over the next 1 year or 2 years.

Finally, all three brands exited the second quarter in good inventory position, including appropriate amounts of new fall transitional merchandise. Customer reaction to our transitional apparel products at all brands on both sides of the Atlantic has been encouraging. And once again is being paced by the Free People brand. It’s important to point out that it’s still very early in the season to identifying trends reliably is difficult. Nevertheless, should this reaction continue, it could bode well for third quarter results. We certainly have a larger opportunity to improve upon our second quarter performance and I believe we will. Before taking questions, I would like to thank our 24,000 associates worldwide for their hard work, their dedication and their creativity. I also thank our many partners around the world and our shareholders for their continuing support.”

David McCreight – President, URBN and Chief Executive Officer, Anthropologie Group:

“I am pleased to provide you with an update on the Anthropologie Group since we last spoke. As you may remember from our last call, the majority of our revenue and margin decline in the first quarter was due to our execution of women’s apparel. Historically, successful Anthropologie apparel assortments were well-balanced between our different customer aesthetic preferences and covered a variety of end uses. This past spring, our offer was not distinctly Anthropologie, lacking pattern, color, and skewing too casual, we were missing some of our core aesthetic elements. Over the past few months, we have worked to correct these missteps. And while our current apparel assortment still has significant room for improvement, I am pleased to report we are seeing signs of progress.

During the second quarter, regular priced apparel comps improved sequentially with June and July materially better than May. The apparel comp trend improved in both the store and direct-to-consumer channels. From a product category perspective, tops currently show the greatest trend improvement across several fabrications and bottoms continue posting solid, regular price comps as they have all season. We are happy to see our customer has begun to adopt different silhouettes and fabrications during this bottoms led fashion cycle. I believe we enter fall with the merchant, design and creative teams more aligned around our apparel customer and the breadth of aesthetic offer needed to engage Her. We have clean apparel inventory levels and are better prepared in most categories to respond to in-season trends.

If the current trajectory of apparel were to continue throughout the third quarter, we would expect to see regular price comps improve, but be offset in part by a reduction in markdown comps. The potential reduction in markdown sales could suppress total apparel comps, but allow for expansion of apparel margins. Beyond the apparel offer and consistent with the past 3 years, our emerging categories and businesses, including Europe excelled this past quarter achieving better year-over-year sales, margin and operating income results. A few of the standouts were the continued strong growth of our home, beauty, BHLDN and Terrain businesses as well as positive momentum in the UK apparel business. Buoyed by continued success in home, we are investing in broadening the offer and easing the shopping path.

Look for the new home social and journal campaign which will launch our largest home offer ever with over 2,000 own brand products, a strategic collaboration with Liberty of London [note from roxy: this will get its own post!] and advances in our digital shopping path that allow Her to easily customize some 90,000 options. Our beauty team has developed a partnership with Estée Lauder, which should bring our customers some of their most coveted beauty brands and the Bhldn team continues to grow into their new markets delighting potential brides and wedding party guests. And we are looking to bring our remarkable trained brand experience to more communities soon.”

First, let me boil down the essence of their statements. Mr. Hayne is basically saying that Anthropologie’s North American apparel is still disappointing, but there is hope because leadership saw sales starting to increase in June and July (this is echoed in Mr. McCreight’s comments). Mr. Hayne also says that Free People creates an excellent model to follow, in that they did not have to do as many promotions during this last quarter as they did the same quarter the year before — sales were better. So the hope for them is that if they continue to see sales gains, promos will go down.

Mr. McCreight recognizes that Anthropologie’s Spring apparel missed the mark, mostly by going too casual (and ahem, let’s not forget all the rompers and tassels and onesies!!). However, the brand is hopeful that positive sales trends in June and July mean Q3 will see far fewer promos than Q2 did.

This of course, as Anthropologie launched an extra 30% off sale promo for the weekend. OK.

I agree with much of what was said above, but I have to strongly disagree with the assessment that Anthropologie’s designs are getting back on track. In the past when leadership has said this the opposite has happened — icky designs with not much to buy. And based on what I’m seeing so far of Fall, I…well, see for yourself…



Anthropologie is moving in a positive direction, you guys
No really, we swear we mean it this time!
Seriously you guys. We are moving in a positive direction. ?

So no. I’m not buying that Anthro is moving in a positive direction and I am dubious at best that tops are getting better.

I DO think Anthropologie has made some progress:

  1. Offering Free Shipping as an Anthro Loyalty perk is a smart move.
  2. There is clearly an effort on the website to have the “Shop The Look” items actually be the right items! Hooray!
  3. Leadership recognizes the assortment was off, and is trying to fix it.

Unfortunately, so far these efforts to fix things are still way off the mark. I do not understand why Anthropologie is so allergic to tailoring these days. They’ve always had a problem with many of their tops being too short, and when you add boxy into the mix…well, it’s a problem.

Additionally, the few attempts they’re making at tailoring are either awful in execution (read the reviews of the Ruffled Button Top ($78) *cries*) or not understanding who their customer is (this dress looks ideal online but in real life is both too small in the bust while being very low-cut and unlined *cries more*).

I don’t believe that Anthropologie’s design team has righted the ship. I don’t think they’re designing cohesively or with complete outfits in mind. I don’t think they’re designing for the core Anthropologie customer, who wants a nice assortment of work and casual options, with a bit of fanciful thrown in, and they certainly don’t seem to care about making sure their designs are the kind of things that make women look and feel good. That last part is the most depressing, because Anthropologie was always reliably able to make women of many shapes and sizes look amazing, and now it’s like they don’t even care, and this is worse than my first high school breakup.

Anthropologie is taking moves to shorten inventory lead time, and as a result they’re flipping their model from unleashing most of the season’s collection early and then filling in with smaller inventory additions as the season progresses, to instead starting off with a slow leak of new items to see what hits and misses and then making inventory and production orders based off of that.

It’s smart, but it’s also going to be challenging. Anthropologie has a true quality control problem right now — reviews of these chinos are just one example — which means that items that may otherwise be alluring are not selling because they don’t hold up. I’m not sure how Anthro can truly judge their collection when beleaguered customers like us are reaching for scraps, buying something that looks and fits OK just to say we supported Anthropologie this quarter.

I am not making the following up. Right before Anthropologie became a widely-known brand thanks to Glee, it was a brand that specialized in thoughtful draping, unique details, flattering color and shape combinations, attention towards layering and outfit combinations, all while creating universally flattering clothing that stood out from other brands for being SPECIAL. Different. Each Anthropologie catalogue was an exercise in deciding which side of the page to dog-ear, because I wanted to dog-ear both.

Take a look at this catalogue and this one and tell me you wouldn’t order most of the stuff you see. I would wear anything and everything from the above! (Well, maybe not the rufflepotamus sweater on the lower left…but I’d give it a shot!)

I see nothing coming close to any of these items above in Anthro’s current assortment. Not even close. Not in detail, not in fit and flattering, not even in color or outfit possibilities. Remember when Anthropologie used to release 2 or 3 killer pairs of detailed tall boots each fall, that sold out nearly instantly? Remember how hard of a decision it was choosing between so many beautiful items? This post from 2008 celebrated styling 5 beautiful Anthropologie cardigans, and I had to make every outfit option multiple outfits because I couldn’t choose among all the pretties!!

Now Anthro, tell me how many short boxy tops you see in the photo above? How many sack dresses? How many buttonless open cardigans? How many one-off items that don’t go with anything else? How many cropped pants (ok there are no pants but you get the point right)? How many furry sweaters? How many mini skirts that barely clear the ass? How many casual items vs. how many work items?

That last one was a trick question. Time was that you could wear Anthro for anything! Work, weekend, wedding guest, whatever.

One last question: does the customer who would wear the items in the spread above look like she’s 18? 35? 75?

Another trick question. She could be any of those ages! Unlike now, where the Anthro customer would have to pretty juvenile to pull off a lot of the fashions you’re unleashing. This is not about wanting to go back to the past. This is about wanting the kind of designs that used to inspire buying frenzies in the past.

Your homework, Anthropologie:

  1. Go back and look at your pre-2010 catalogues, especially 2009, 2008 and 2003.
  2. Define 4 or 5 “customers” you’re designing for, and say no to anything outside of those 4 or 5.
  3. Just say no to sad sack dresses and boxy short tops.
  4. Remember that 67% of the female population is bigger than a B cup.
  5. Look up these terms and then utilize them in your designs: darts, basket panels, cinch, defined waist, fit and flare, tailored.

Community, I turn it over to you. Feel free to link to any especially crazy items Anthropologie is offering beyond the ones shown and mentioned in this post. Feel free to share your thoughts.

You can read the full quarterly call transcript here.

Further reading:
Urban Outfitters (URBN) Surges on Big Earnings, Revenue Beats (NASDAQ)
Retailer Urban Outfitters beats on top and bottom lines, but same-store sales sink (CNBC)
Urban Outfitters Stock Just Had Its Best Run in 24 Years (Fortune | WARNING: auto-play ad)
Urban Outfitters: Shares Up But Still a Hot Mess (Barron’s)
Analyst: Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie off pitch when it comes to apparel (Chain Store Age)
Urban Outfitters shares spike 22% after earnings, but analysts say there’s little to cheer about (MarketWatch)


    • Leah G.
      August 18, 2017 / 11:20 am

      I agree with you on the kimonos and could shoulder everything. Thank goodness it's nearly fall where the styles will change for a while (at least until Spring).

      • Becky
        August 18, 2017 / 2:04 pm

        True now I am seeing a lot of bell sleeves for fall they just go overboard with every trend

    • Jess
      August 18, 2017 / 11:29 am

      Ug, those are all like THE ugliest jackets ever imo, what the heck Anthro get it together.

      • Jess
        August 18, 2017 / 11:32 am

        And like I said before, you couldn't even pay me to wear any of that junk. My husband was laughing so hard about those things!

        • August 18, 2017 / 11:35 am

          I don't understand how two of those jackets have semi-positive reviews. WHAT. WHO. HOW.

          • Jess
            August 18, 2017 / 11:38 am

            That's what we were just asking haha!! Who are these people? Where's my Anthro?

    • August 18, 2017 / 11:32 am

      Oh god those are TERRIBLE. Remember when Sleeping on Snow would release the most incredible sweatercoats? Or when there'd be an amazing embellished option or 3 to choose from? Why Anthropologie, why????

      PS – I changed your links to affiliate links. If you want me to change them back just let me know!

      • Lindinha
        August 18, 2017 / 1:02 pm

        Yup! Thank goodness I nabbed one of those sweatercoats before they went extinct.
        I rarely wear it because it has to be really cold out ( it's seriously thermal) but when I do the compliments just pour in.

    • Stefanje
      August 18, 2017 / 10:07 pm

      I happen to love the first one but got the same exact thing in a beautiful cobalt blue at target last winter for $22.99!
      Definitely a certain look and I've only worn it twice. Looks awesome with skinny jeans and pointy boots.
      The other two? Heinous

    • lazypadawan
      August 18, 2017 / 10:43 pm

      1. Muppet pimp coat

      2. Wookiee fur turned into a football-themed jacket

      3. Mom's '70s macrame project turned into a garment

  1. Anthropolitan
    August 18, 2017 / 11:08 am

    "Anthropologie is moving in a positive direction, you guys. " HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA………..*sob*…

    Posting all those pictures of vintage Anthro only makes it hurt all the more.

    Thanks for this post and your thoughts. I agree with nearly everything you said. They have just totally lost the plot.

    And what on earth are "macro headwinds?"

    • August 18, 2017 / 11:36 am

      They're the kind of thing we laugh about when reading investor presentations I think!

      • August 18, 2017 / 4:52 pm

        I also like how 'anniversary' is used as a verb here…

    • Bronzi
      September 3, 2017 / 9:35 am

      Just catching up and wondered the same thing…"macro headwinds". No wonder Anthro is down. Management just doesn't get it.

      I went in a localAnthro a week or so ago. Wasn't tempted by ONE thing. I used to be a regular.

  2. Maggie
    August 18, 2017 / 11:42 am

    Hello Anthropologie: Another key concept they could look up is "natural fibers" so we could see more cotton and wool and silk (or combinations thereof) so we would have the benefit of the feel of those fibers (and yes, I know some customers cannot tolerate wool but then they aren't shopping for wool/poly either) and also guess how an item will fit and wear over time (shrinkage and give). And when using non-natural fibers, stop pricing them like they were made of pure gold (or silk or wool or pure cotton).

    I think the jewelry buyer(s) may have your idea Roxy of 4 or 5 customers they are envisioning as they make decisions about what lines to carry: I see a number of distinct visions in that department: classic/boho/handcrafted crafty and the range from delicate/discreet to very bold/bright represents a range of styles and customers. Not so much every other area.

    Those past catalogs make me sad and also make me want to go to my closet and rearrange my Anthro classics to be at the forefront going into fall!

    • August 18, 2017 / 11:50 am

      You are right Maggie, I agree that the jewelry team does seem to have a few different customers in mind and caters to them in a thoughtful way.

  3. Soleil
    August 18, 2017 / 11:46 am

    I struggle with the jumpsuits, I really do. One or two, fine. But they've got so many–for every occasion. But do jumpsuits work for every occasion?

    This is one where I think…is it just me? Is it only me who sees it as a sad thing to pay $140 to put your body in a poorly cut jumpsuit made of suiting fabric? I can see jumpsuits for the beach or weekend or even a fancy silk one for a special occasion, but have we gone too far when we try to make Business Jumpsuit a thing?

    • August 18, 2017 / 11:50 am

      I love rompers, don't get me wrong, but even I know how impractical they are. I only own one. Jumpsuits…I cannot imagine. Going to the bathroom in the office in a jumpsuit? Or a club??? Or a bar??? Ick. No thanks.

      • Shari
        August 19, 2017 / 7:11 am

        Again, not appealing to us. My daughter purchased two jumpsuits from anthro (she is 18) – one in a red/rust color and one in black and wears them all of the time. Out to dinner/brunch with a denim jacket and with nicer shoes and jewelry to an engagement party. For her, it is one of the best purchases I have made (and I can likely borrow as she has them in a small)!

    • Lindinha
      August 18, 2017 / 1:07 pm

      Not gonna lie… the impractical side of me absolutely loves this jumpsuit! But not from the viewpoint of work wear, which would justify the price, but moreso from the fashion angle of menswear redesigned.

  4. Jadzia
    August 18, 2017 / 11:46 am

    Roxy! I appreciate these "business of fashion" type posts. I have been really disappointed in Anthro's sizing lately. All of the sudden I don't fit into anything in Anthro. I bought three tops in a size small and all three were definitely a large. Looking back at the reviews online, every single commenter said the same thing, too big! two sizes too big!

    I have not lost weigh and still wear the same size in other brands. I even went in this past weekend and tried on an adorable (at least on the mannequin) Hei Hei gauze jumpsuit. The small literally had 2 inches of extra fabric on each side of the waist. The only other size was an XS which did not fit either.

    I really wish they would standardize their sizing.

    • August 18, 2017 / 11:52 am

      I totally agree Jadzia! Excellent point.

      This is one example of where there is dissonance between what analysts/investors want and what customers need. A company touts how they've cut production expenses by 30% by offshoring their clothing production. Investors and analysts cheer! Meanwhile, customers notice a downward spiral of quality and inconsistent fits, sometimes in the same item! Customers hiss and turn away. Analysts notice lower profits, hold or sell the stock, investors boo.

      Investors and analysts don't really care how a company does, but customers do.

    • Becky
      August 18, 2017 / 2:00 pm

      I agree, I am usually an xs and have been sized out of several items.

      • Guest
        August 18, 2017 / 5:06 pm

        Agreed as well – things that are now an XS or XXS are equivalent to a small or even medium from years ago. Its really disappointing.

  5. anon
    August 18, 2017 / 12:34 pm

    I'm speechless. Those fuzzy jackets highlight how far Anthro has fallen. I'm so very sad. I'm also done wishing and hoping they'd right the ship. The last 2-3 years have only demonstrated how determined they are to leave their core customer and chase the trends that clearly aren't selling. How much feedback do they need? One would think sales declining quarter after quarter would be enough to make them change SOMETHING! I've purchased one top in the last 6 months and frankly, don't love it. To add to your fit and styling comment Roxy, there always seems to be something a bit off. It's sheer, v-neck is too deep, arm holes too big, too long, too boxy etc. Even if I like the item, it's just never quite right. Madewell on the other hand seems to be picking up most of my business. I ordered a dress last week and it's lovely. Fit is spot on and flattering, material is silk and well made. Top that off with free (and quick) shipping and I'm cured of my Anthro addiction. I do love the home offerings, but not enough to shop often. I've held out hope the last few seasons and really had my fingers crossed Fall would be a return to lovely and wearable sweaters, but the fuzzy sweaters/jackets maybe the final straw.

    • August 18, 2017 / 1:51 pm

      You know I'm a huge Madewell fan these days too. No one is quite filling the hole of what Anthropologie used to do so well for me, but a combination of several other brands is getting all the money that used to go to Anthro.

    • lazypadawan
      August 18, 2017 / 10:48 pm

      Last month I discovered & Other Stories. European style, not too bad prices, pretty good sales. I also love Boden, Madewell (better than its parent company if you ask me), WHBM, and my old standby Zara.

  6. Lindinha
    August 18, 2017 / 1:16 pm

    Amazing work Roxy!! You are spot on per usual.
    Also I don't understand the addition of Estée Lauder products. I like that brand and even worked for them at one point but how is Anthro going to compete with Department Stores GWP or Sephora and Ulta's super competitive membership programs and free samples? I feel like they're only digging a deeper hole for themselves. Anthro doesn't even have a CC so I can't imagine what the impetus would be to buy ES from them.

    • August 18, 2017 / 1:51 pm

      Perhaps there will be special Estee Lauder products just for Anthropologie, a la the Liberty of London collaboration? I don't know the answer but I agree it's an odd move.

  7. Simone
    August 18, 2017 / 2:08 pm

    You are doing such a huge service to Anthro in these posts. You even typed out homework for them and I totally agree with all your points. I sure hope they are paying attention!

  8. klj1
    August 18, 2017 / 2:37 pm

    Yes, yes! Those fug boa shoes..I posted in another thread. Bleck! lol

    • Jess
      August 18, 2017 / 2:52 pm

      When I first saw those ridiculous shoes my first thought was, "really?" They can't be serious, get real Anthro!

  9. Amelia
    August 18, 2017 / 3:36 pm

    Seriously… when did Anthropologie descide to start marketing to muppets?!?!?

  10. karen
    August 18, 2017 / 4:34 pm

    I think the home page says it all.
    Anthro is a denim shop now???!! Yeah, it sadly just follows trends, instead of being unique and instead of standing out in the sea of trendy clothing, like it once did.

  11. karen
    August 18, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    And the sad thing is that we have been screaming all of these complaints for a VERY long time. We've provided them with so much free great advice for such a long time but they won't listen. We're so loyal that even though they've done everything possible to get rid of us (delete our wish lists, delete prices of items sold out, delete old listings and reviews and photos, ignore our pleading of what items we want to buy), we're still here and we're still trying to get them to listen. But will they ever listen?

    • Jess
      August 18, 2017 / 8:55 pm

      Now that's more like it, I think Field of Flower is an older Anthro brand so they should know some good designs.

    • Maggie
      August 18, 2017 / 9:00 pm

      Thank you for highlighting this. I have emailed to find out the content mix by % since while I am happy to see natural fibers, the price seems rather high even though the embellishing looks really lovely. I love the gray one!

      • Jess
        August 18, 2017 / 9:15 pm

        The grey is indeed nice but I'm wondering how this one fits, not sure whether to choose a Small or Medium in this brand.

      • Katrine
        August 21, 2017 / 7:54 am

        Did you hear anything back on the % of each fabric? It looks lovely, but I agree that the price is a bit steep.

        • Jess
          August 22, 2017 / 1:01 am

          I looked and it's 95% cotton and the rest is cashmere. It's absolutely beautiful in person, the pearls are better in person.

        • Dina
          August 22, 2017 / 5:44 pm

          IMO the price is beyond steep – it's outrageous.

          • Jess
            August 22, 2017 / 7:33 pm

            It is indeed, I'm thinking it should be more along the range of $128 or so would be a little more appropriate but at least the style has a little more of that old Anthro look we're missing, a small step in the right direction.

          • Dina
            August 22, 2017 / 10:39 pm

            $128 was exactly the price I had in mind. It is nice though.

    • August 22, 2017 / 12:58 pm

      That is VERY cute Amanda, great find. I will be looking for this today during my Denver-area Anthro excursion!!!

  12. beauxberkeley
    August 18, 2017 / 10:03 pm

    I do like the Anthropologie shoe line.

    • Lindinha
      August 18, 2017 / 11:25 pm

      Me too!! Accessories are great as well. And back in the day you could try on shoes in-stores.

      • Jess
        August 22, 2017 / 1:02 am

        Me three haha! I love Seychelles as most of their shoes and boots are always TTS for me.

    • August 22, 2017 / 12:59 pm

      Yes, I think their accessories — shoes, bags, jewelry, scarves, etc. are far outshining the clothing right now.

  13. MissAnthropologiest
    August 19, 2017 / 2:46 am

    Here's another addition to the cringeworthy collection: a plain white t-shirt with a juvenile message stencilled across it, then put through the wrong washing cycle, resulting in rips and tears:…

    All yours for just a hundred plus US dollars!

    • Jess
      August 19, 2017 / 12:02 pm

      Wow who the heck was the buyer who picked out that fine humdinger? LOL.

    • August 22, 2017 / 12:59 pm

      That is horrendous. There is no way around it.

  14. Chavi
    August 19, 2017 / 2:24 pm

    It's my birthday month and I usually had to whittle my shopping bag down to my three or four favorite items from a list of over ten. This might be my second year where I can't even find one item to put in my birthday month shopping bag… Even the 15% discount can't entice me to part with my hard earned cash. Since I live overseas and rely on friends to bring me my orders, I've found that in the last two years I've sent back more than I've kept – way more… Best thing I bought in the last year is the new Ynez dress – which sold out in days – which meant that this dress was on the right track as far as what consumers want. Comfortable, not a complete shapeless sack, no open shoulders (please! No more of these!), A modest neckline and gorgeous eyelet details. Would have preferred it to be a little more tailored but this was definitely a move in the right direction. And, last but certainly not least, the price was right. No more $350+ dresses please! I wore this dress to a wedding and felt great in it. And my teenagers gave me a huge thumbs up (that's telling!) I'm not a tall, skinny perfect size two woman that looks good in anything she puts on. I'm a short, high waisted, hourglass, youthful forty six year old who wants to wear clothing that flatters my curves and makes me feel good about myself. This is essentially what we are all looking for. Isn't it? Get with the program, Anthropologie.

    • August 22, 2017 / 1:04 pm

      This IS essentially what we want Chavi, you are so right. And yet soooooooooooooooooooo many retailers (not just Anthro) are resistant to this, because if you appeal to the masses you risk becoming a Talbot or a J. Jill, etc. (No offense to people who love these stores, I find stuff at Talbots every so often myself). Retailers are allergic to being seen as dowdy or matronly, it's a topic that comes up all the time in my client meetings.

      Most women's retailers would rather appeal to 20-somethings and miss the mark than appeal to any other age group. There is a huge hole in the market just waiting to be filled of someone who can target professional women (I include stay at home mom's in the term professional!!) with the right mix of tailored and casual pieces. The first retailer to do it right will win a huge market share.

      Who's it gonna be?

  15. Barbara
    August 20, 2017 / 1:28 am

    Their buyers are so off the mark! Get them out! Roll heads and start fresh, please. There is no evidence of them getting their act together, just as you said, Roxy. It feels like they are just becoming a department store carrying Michael Stars and the like. Where are all their in house brands? Have barely seen a thing from Meadow Rue, Floreat, etc. My wallet thanks me, though, so that is one good thing.

  16. Carrie
    August 20, 2017 / 7:14 am

    I haven't found one piece from the designer Eri + Ali that isn't made from crappy fabric or look like a tent. Why do they carry so much of this label!? It may appear cute online, but if you see it in the store the quality is horrible! Maybe it's just me.

    • karen
      August 20, 2017 / 12:11 pm

      Eli and Ali should really be called Short + Boxy. Or maybe Crappy Fabric + Tenty. This label has a lot of cute ideas but they miss the mark every time for me because they are almost all too short, too boxy, and use too crappy fabric.

      • Mary
        August 20, 2017 / 2:11 pm

        I vote for crappy tenty ?. I agree. It is possibly a house brand, maybe that is why they carry so much of it? But everything is pretty terrible.

      • August 22, 2017 / 1:05 pm

        Perfect Karen, I agree with you!

        I agree with all of you ladies!!

  17. Teri Lynn
    August 20, 2017 / 8:25 am

    This seems like a trend overall in ladies apparel. They also need to stop offering just so much stuff, 8 pages the other day when I looked at the new arrivals. I think Roxy's assessment of identifying your core customer base and discard the rest seems like a gamble but I think the quality over quantity model will win out. I don't mind a design trend to be integrated into a design or two, but everything OTS or cold shoulder, or with bell sleeves is too much. It's like that bell sleeve is good but let's take it up a notch until it dominates the item which won't really have a shelf life after this year. J Crew is drowning in the same bad and unwearable clothing. A lack of notice to details in product descriptions and fabric quality makes it impossible to want to spend 70+ on a synthetic sweater that will pill after one wear. When Old Navy holds more of my interest for making the cost per wear reasonable, other mid price stores will lose every time.

    • August 22, 2017 / 1:06 pm

      I am finding a lot to love at J. Crew right now Teri Lynn but I absolutely agree that all the bell-sleeved, cold-shoulder stuff is just too much. Trendy pieces should not account for such a large proportion of the overall offering!

  18. Jen
    August 20, 2017 / 8:46 am

    Anthro pretty much went downhill as soon as they got rid of the dress forms.

    • August 22, 2017 / 1:06 pm

      YES. You are so right Jen.

  19. Christy
    August 20, 2017 / 11:59 am

    Really, really want them to come back. They were my absolute favorite, but they are still missing the mark. Went to the store the other day just to browse and found not 1 item that I would want to take home. So sad. I remember the days when I would check my wishlist first thing in the am for pop-backs and then also look at the new items. Those days are gone for now. Hopefully they will just read this blog and figure things out! Free marketing and free feedback here!

    • August 22, 2017 / 1:07 pm

      They are definitely reading! I can tell by the ISPs visiting the blog. ☺️ In fact many brands visit here to read and get feedback, so please do continue to share it Christy and all of this lovely community.

  20. Elizabeth
    August 21, 2017 / 6:29 pm

    Looking at the beautiful pictures from Anthro of old is basically torture at this point :((((((

    • August 22, 2017 / 1:07 pm

      Oops. Haha.

    • Jess
      August 22, 2017 / 7:42 pm

      It truly is Elizabeth, it's so frustrating because I miss that excited feeling I'd get whenever a new catalog would come out especially right before the start of a new season and it would be just absolutely breathtaking! Each page was always filled with clothes and accessories I just had to have or really or could only dream of lol. I think Anthro has spread themselves out too thin and whenever that happens, everything tends to become too cheap and homogenized and for profit, I've seen it too many times. I honestly don't understand how they think they should cater to people who aren't really their core customers.

  21. nedrey
    August 21, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    Too many WTH items to mention, but i am liking the following items…

    I ended up buying these today

    Aside from the cut -out shirts (and dresses) trend, I think they need to scale back on the wide leg culottes/ trousers.

    Styles and price points are all over the place. And I think that Anthro has made a serious mistake with having so many % off sales. Why would I want to buy a sale item, if they are going to offer an additional % instead of traditional second/ third cuts (aside from getting rid of the massive amount of sale items)?

    • August 22, 2017 / 1:09 pm

      Very cute picks nedrey! I am working on a new arrivals post and our picks overlap. Good stuff to highlight, and great feedback on the stuff Anthro needs to improve.

  22. Christine
    August 22, 2017 / 10:22 am

    Roxy – Soooo……in the past I know you mentioned that Anthro corporate does indeed read this blog. With SO MUCH helpful information that you and the ladies her offer for FREE, why does Anthro not take it to heart and actually do something? We've been complaining for years…not just this year and last but a handful?? But nothing has changed. Anthro still offers nothing compared to the 2007-2009 offerings and all the beauties the years prior. I met and fell in love with Anthro in 2008… I barely go into the store. I look online and scoff at the offerings. It's basically like any other retailer out there now with the crap material quality and fit. They're not "special" anymore…..anyone can shop at Anthro now because with all the sales promos, it's cheap and affordable. It's more like a Macy's and no longer a Nordstrom. I'm mad, I'm sad…..I want the old Anthro back!!! I want the "WOW!" back. Why won't they listen….? *tears*

    • August 22, 2017 / 1:12 pm

      I don't know! *cries*

      I just wrote a reply above kind of answering this but basically to boil it down again here retailers are allergic to being seen as dowdy or matronly, it's a topic that comes up all the time in my client meetings.

      Most women's retailers would rather appeal to 20-somethings and miss the mark than appeal to any other age group.

      It's so weird. I don't get it myself — even as a 20-something just out of college I was hunting for more stuff that fit my personal aesthetic. Personally I think investors have WAY too much say in what clothing retailers do, and leadership lives in fear of having too many quarters. And that goes for any retailer.

      By and large privately held companies do MUCH better with customers than public companies do.

      • Maggie
        August 23, 2017 / 1:33 pm

        There seems to be such a distance between investors and management (and buyers who take direction from higher ups) and the actual stores with actual customers. Perhaps they should spend a day sitting in stores to see who shops and who buys, sitting in the waiting area of dressing rooms listening, and talking to people they know about the brand. I shop now primarily at one Anthro store in an upscale shopping center where the clientele overall skews towards middle aged women and their daughters (not that their daughters are shopping Anthro) and the store seems to do very well. I do not see people gravitating towards office clothing. I used to shop downtown San Francisco and that is a very different customer (or potential customer). That is interesting that retailers worry about being the frumpy store; I hardly think that would be Anthro's problem were they to return to fit and flare dresses for example, or blazers or unshredded clothing.

    • Dina
      August 22, 2017 / 5:52 pm

      I actually found things I liked in the past few months, but the new stuff right now is truly awful and overpriced on top of it. Saves me money though so I don't really care all that much!

  23. August 23, 2017 / 10:21 am

    Speaking of old catalogues, Roxy, do you know of anyone who would be willing to lend out their catalogue collection, so I can scan and upload them to Pinterest? I feel like I'm always finding realllly old Anthro pieces, but I can never find the stock photos or descriptions.

    • August 23, 2017 / 11:08 am

      I don't. I personally got rid of mine a couple of moves ago. Maybe eBay?

    • Stefanie
      August 23, 2017 / 11:30 am

      I just cleaned out my office and found a TON. I'm more than happy to mail them to you to scan if you mail them back. Not sure how much it would cost-I have pretty big stack. Email me at stefaniehb @ if you're interested! I won't be able to do it until next week when my kids are back in school though.

      • August 23, 2017 / 3:31 pm

        That's great! Emailing you now. : )

  24. anthrolace
    August 24, 2017 / 10:01 am

    I am in search of the Herschel lemon backpack, has anyone seen one in a store? I wish I would have bought it when it was on the website! Thank you in advance.

  25. Barb
    August 24, 2017 / 10:18 am

    I don't know why the brand isn't doing market research surveys with people that own the brand and discuss what they like about the brand.

  26. Mary
    August 26, 2017 / 1:21 am

    Has anyone checked out Target's new line A New Day? From what I've seen, there are some incredible pieces at awesome price points! Lately Anthro has become such a huge disappointment. Boxy, short tops are not my thing. Its sad that Anthro was once my go to place and all the beautiful unique styles are nonexistent.

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