The Real Deal New York

Urban Outfitters tests new store format on Herald Square

The 57,000-square-foot store features a café, hair salon, bookshop and record shop
June 08, 2014 02:00PM

 Yesterday, hipster clothing retailer Urban Outfitters opened their latest – and largest — shop in Herald Square with a new concept designed to draw online shoppers back into the brick-and-mortar store. 

“For a long time people were like, ‘Oh, it’s all about online, Brick and mortar is dead.’ But no, I think you just have to do something more exciting for the customer,” John Hauser, chief officer of brand experience for the Urban Outfitters group, told CNBC.

The 57,000-square-foot store relies on amenities such as a café, hair salon, bookshop and record shop to create an experience that online shoppers would miss.

Hauser said that originally he wanted to rent out only a portion of the space, but the landlord only wanted to lease the space to a single tenant. Hauser then decided to blow up the size of the store to nearly four times its average footprint.

Joanne Podell, a vice chairman at Cushman & Wakefield, said the most important component to Urban’s new store format is the coffee shop, because “whenever a retailer adds in a food or beverage component, it encourages the customer to sit down and relax as they browse the store.” [CNBC] Christopher Cameron