While Wall Street cheers Urban Outfitters for not doing quite so badly as forecast, the reality is that this is a lousy set of results. Not only are the numbers sequentially worse than a pretty dire first quarter, but they also show that many of the initiatives put into play remain a long way from delivering.
The overall sales decline of 2% is poor, although the number would have been materially worse if it wasn’t for a relatively strong wholesale performance where revenues increased by 10%. Outside of this area of advancement, the rest of the group is in a tailspin.
Retail sales were down by a sharp 3.1% on a total basis and by an even worse 5% in comparable terms. Behind this is a dramatic same-store fall of 7.9% at the Urban Outfitters brand, and a 4.0% dip at Anthropologie. Only Free People managed to generate growth, but the 2.9% uplift proved wholly insufficient to offset the declines in the larger parts of Urban’s business.
If the sales drops weren’t bad enough, they were accompanied by a deterioration of 440 basis points in gross profit. This was mostly thanks to far higher markdown activity, which was necessary to clear down inventory that would not sell at full price. The impact on the bottom line, which was also affected by higher logistics and…