Urban Outfitters (URBN 22.14, -1.06) is on track to begin lower by 4.6% after disclosing that comparable sales for the first quarter to date are down in the mid-single digits after last year's results included the benefit of a leap year.
It is no secret that retailers of all types have faced significant headwinds, seeing little respite from the holiday shopping season. Many companies have reduced their physical presence in places like malls while stepping up their online sales efforts. However, with more sales being conducted online, price competition has heated up, which bodes poorly for margins.
Urban Outfitters is no stranger to headwinds, having seen its stock fall 22.4% so far in 2017. This puts shares at levels from the start of 2016 and more than 50.0% below their all-time high (47.25) that was notched in March 2015.
Hoping to soften the impact of a weak retail environment, Urban Outfitters acquired Philadelphia's Vetri Family group of restaurants in 2016, but so far, the business makes up a tiny portion of the entire operation. Fourth quarter food and beverage sales totaled $6.03 million or just 0.6% of total quarterly sales.