Monday, July 22

Urban Outfitters plans to dress up Westwood


Another big-name retail corporation will be coming to Westwood
Village next quarter, again with hopes that it will help revitalize
traffic into the area.

Urban Outfitters, scheduled to open on Feb. 1, will be located
on the corner of Westwood Boulevard and Kinross Avenue.

Darren Bell, vice president and director of leasing for Topa
Management Company, who worked as the agent for the 10-year lease
between Urban Outfitters, Inc. and the Transtein Trust, believes
Urban Outfitters will create some “much needed
momentum” for Westwood Village. He said he hopes it will act
as a catalyst to spur the arrival of other businesses, particularly
retailers, to the area.

Banana Republic, Lucky Brand Jeans and Z Gallerie are some of
the retailers that have considered moving into Westwood in recent
years.

Steve Sann, co-founder of the Westwood Business Association,
said he hopes Urban Outfitters will act as a destination store for
UCLA students to come to Westwood Village. Unlike many stores in
the Village, students cannot buy the chain’s merchandise at
Ackerman Student Union.

Ruiz Fabiola, a sales assistant at Footnotes on Westwood
Boulevard, is not worried about competition from the store and
expects that its arrival will bring more shoppers to the area. She
added that Urban Outfitters will have a unique niche in Westwood
because it will be one of the few stores to sell men’s
clothing.

Urban Outfitters, which is the parent company of Anthropologie,
has been trying to move to Westwood for years. The chain has the
majority of its stores in college areas, such as the University of
California at Berkeley, Georgetown University and Harvard
University.

Urban Outfitters was originally scheduled to move into Westwood
in 2000, according to area real estate investment firm, Madison
Marquette. The store planned to occupy the buildings that are
currently leased by Victoria’s Secret and Ann Taylor Loft.
However, after signing a lease, the deal fell through because of
architectural and engineering problems.

The leasing agents representing Urban Outfitters had wanted to
combine the two buildings into one, but to do so would have
required over $1 million in construction, Sann said.

The company also wanted to redo the front of the store to
reflect the signature Urban Outfitters look of shattered glass, but
Sann said that would have faced opposition from the community since
the building that Victoria’s Secret occupies is considered a
historical landmark because of its architecture.

There are already four other Urban Outfitters stores in the Los
Angeles area: in Burbank, on Melrose Avenue, in Santa Monica and in
Old Town Pasadena.

The Santa Monica store has been especially successful. Last
year, it generated enough sales tax revenues to be included in
Santa Monica’s top-25 list. The majority of retailers on this
list are car dealerships.

Josh White, a manager at the Santa Monica Urban Outfitters
location, does not believe that the opening of the Westwood
location will have a negative effect on his store’s sales. He
also added that while a few employees might transfer their location
from Santa Monica to Westwood, the majority of employees in the
Westwood store will be new hires.

White added that Urban Outfitters is expanding, noting that the
store in Burbank just opened last week.

Considering the financial success of the chain, the expansion is
not surprising. In August, the company released its second quarter
financial statements, and earnings were up 51 percent over the same
period the previous year. Sales were also up 22 percent from the
second quarter of the year before.

Edward Yen, a first-year molecular, cell and developmental
biology student, said the arrival of Urban Outfitters to Westwood
is exciting, and that he plans to shop there once it is open.

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