World Announces Exclusive Distribution Agreement for “Free People” in Japan
Women’s Casual Lifestyle Brand of Urban Outfitters Inc. (U.S.A.)
Full-Scale Launch Scheduled for 2013 Spring/Summer Product Lines
World Co., Ltd. (headquarters: Kobe, Japan; President: Hidezo Terai) and Urban Outfitters Inc. (headquarters: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.; President and CEO: Richard A. Hayne) have agreed to a business alliance on October 5, 2012 to sell the “Free People” women’s casual lifestyle brand in the Japanese market.
Under this agreement, the 2013 spring/summer product lines will be available in the Japanese market through directly operated stores and World stores, e-commerce sales and wholesale channels.
Flagship store in New York City
Established in 1976, Urban Outfitters operates 429 stores, including “Urban Outfitters,” “Anthropologie” and “Free People” lifestyle specialty stores, primarily in the United States, Canada and Europe. In the 1970s, then-President Richard A. Hayne opened the first store under the name “Free People” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The second store was renamed “Urban Outfitters.” In 1984, Richard A. Hayne’s wife Margaret Hayne, who was developing original merchandise for the stores, launched a line of clothing that marked the beginning of today’s “Free People” brand.
The first store opened in 2002 in the Garden Plaza Mall in Paramus, New Jersey. Today there are 75 directly operated stores in the United States and Canada, and an official e-commerce site (http://www.freepeople.com/) opened in 2004. Wholesale marketing of the brand across the world involves more than 1,400 stores, including leading department stores in the United States such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.
Purpose of the business alliance
The “Free People” brand has primarily targeted women in their 20s. It boasts a lineup of select items from the newest trends and vintage fashion collections, and consists of high-grade fashions that evoke a sense of femininity, delight and creativity based on a bohemian sensibility. Due to the brand’s popularity among celebrities and fashionistas, it is currently sold at a number of select stores in Japan and has been attracting the attention of fashion-conscious women.
Lifestyle brands are becoming increasingly popular, and World seeks to expand its appeal among a broad age group of women in their 20s and 30s by exclusively selling the “Free People” brand in its full-scale introduction to the Japanese market.
Urban Outfitters agreed to the business alliance with its own goal of developing the Japanese market to enhance the brand’s value and accelerate growth without undermining its distinctive appeal by using World’s diverse channels and resources, which include directly operated stores and an online store.
Outline of the “Free People” brand
“Free People” fashions for fall and winter 2013
|Concept||A specialty clothing brand featuring the latest trends and vintage collections for women who live free through fashion, art, music and travel.|
|Target||Daring and curious women in their 20s|
|Prices for Autumn
|Sales channels||Stand-alone stores, department stores, select stores, station buildings and fashion buildings, shopping centers|
Outline of Urban Outfitters Inc. (http://urbn.com/)
|(1 )Name||Urban Outfitters Inc.|
|(2) Main business||Major brands include the lifestyle specialty stores “Urban Outfitters,” “Anthropologie” and “Free People,” as well as the “BHLDN” bridal line and “Terrain” concept store.|
|(4) Main office||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.|
|(5) Representative||Richard A. Hayne|
|(6) Capital||US$1,066 million (year ended January 2012)|
|(7) Net sales||US$2,474 million (year ended January 2012)|
|(8) Number of employees||Approximately 17,000 (as of January 31, 2012)|