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Topshop vs Urban Outfitters Essay

Topshop was established in 1964 within a Sheffield department store called Peter Robinson in U. K. In 1974, Topshop was taken out of Peter Robinson and set up as a standalone retailer. It is a chain retail clothing store that operates in more than 20 countries. It is part of Arcadia Group, which was also owns a number of well-know outlets including Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Wallis. It is mainly known for women’s clothing and its primary sales come from clothing and fashion accessories.

Their womenswear carry dresses, tops, bottoms, bags, shoes, accessories, cosmetics and lingeries. Their mission is to bring in high street fashion at affordable price, their clothing style is very edgy, chic and classy. Their target customers are students to upper-middle class, demographic from 18 to 30s. Urban Outfitters is an apparel company that was incorporated in 1976. The company was originated as “Free People’s Store” in Philadelphia in 1970, with concentration of “funky” household items and clothing. The founder were two Philadelphians, Scott Hayne and Scott Belair.

The company’s womenswear carry dresses, swimwear, tops, bottoms, bags, outerwear, accessories and intimates. Their products are urban hipster style, vintage feel with a modern twist, something that you can wear everyday. They target at young adult market, age from teens to 20s. Both Urban Outfitters and Topshop are specialty retail store. Topshop ‘s visual merchandising at the front door is quite eye-catching. I think the clothes on the mannequins give a clear picture of what their product style is and what they are selling –cutting edge style.

Their recent exterior is displaying mannequins which are facing inside the store rather than outside, this stimulates one’s curiosity to enter the store and find out how the front view of the mannequins look like. The merchandise that are featured in the window are positioned on the ground floor, mostly in the center of the store where the themed merchandised items are located. Urban Outfitters’s store window decor is not as appealing compare with Topshop. However, they are able to give out a message of their style—earthy, hip and unconventional style.

Most of their merchandise that are featured in the window are located on the ground floor but they are not easy to be found as products are placed in different section. Merchandise of Topshop is organized by category, theme and clearance with different size range while Urban Outfitters is organized by category, designers and clearance with different size range. Sale merchandise in Topshop is positioned on the top floor of the store. They are placed according to category and located in a different area.

Clothing from 10% to 30% off and shoes from 30% to 60% off. Sale merchandise of Urban outfitters is also positioned on the top floor of the store. However, they are grouped in a sale zone. Clothing and shoes from 30% to 40% off. In Topshop, all clothing are hanging on the rack, part of the accessories are placed on the table but mostly are hanging on the rack. Shoes are displayed on the wall mounted shoe rack while a few of them like boots are placed on the table within the same category section.

On the other hand, Urban outfitters have their clothing both hung on the rack and folded on the table. Shoes are displayed on the wall mounted shoe rack and some are placed on the table. Accessories are displayed both on the rack and table. Books and toys are placed on either the table and the shell. Topshop is a UK national brand, their vendor assortment include collaboration with other designers. Recent collaboration is the JW Anderson’s collection which was launched last friday September 14, 2012. JW Anderson is a london fashion week star designer.

The Topshop store in Soho has a special designed partition located by the entrance door to showcase the whole JW Anderson’s collection. Topshop also collaborated with starts like British supermodel Kate Moss and British artist Stella Vine in 2007. Urban Outfitters carry private label brands, all label products are mix together and placed by category. However, expensive products are organized by label brands in a particular section. In Topshop, there is a big sign of directory on the mirror wall with backlight letters next to the escalator which is hard to miss.

In addition, clear signage underneath the escalator shows you the directory of the next floor while you are taking the escalator up. There are posters on the wall shows message like items on sales and student discount. In contrast, Urban Outfitters has no signage for direction used inside the store, but there are signage above the racks that indicates a particular priced group of items. Topshop is not publicly traded while Urban Outfitters is. Urban Outfitters is one of the retail brands under Urban Outfitters Inc.

It is a publicly traded American company and is owned and chaired by Robert Hayne. The company is also held by several large investors, such as Fidelity Management & Research Company, Maverick Capital Ltd, Vanguard Group, and Capital Guardian Trust Company. According to NASDAQ website posted on September 21, 2012. The total net sales during the second quarter of Urban Outfitters Inc. has increased increase 11% to $676. 3 million, the net sales by brands grew 14. 1% to $310. 7 million at Urban Outfitters. Topshop prices vary from line to line to accommodate all aspect of spectrum.

One of their popular line “Mainline” offering classic style is marked at a reasonable pricepoint. On the other hand, “Premium” line is focus on shoppers of quality products who are looking for detailed, superior material apparel is on a higher pricepoint. Urban Outfitters prices does not vary much from label to label, products are marked at the same price range at a reasonable pricepoint. There are a few high-end label brands on a much higher pricepoint than the regular brands. In conclusion, both stores offers similar merchandise with the same merchandising philosophy.

However, Topshop covers a wider range of target customers than Urban Outfitters. However, the only draw back within Topshop is its failure to provide prices that accommodate their large student market. Both of their style is very different and does not portray the same merchandising message. Topshop is more internationally recognized due to its market diversity and intense marketing strategies. I think Urban Outfitters should broaden their global threshold, for instance, expanding their market to Asia.


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