I'm surrounded by Anthropologies!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

This summer, Anthropologie is set to open its sixth NYC outpost on the Bowery. Sixth. For those keeping track that will be four Anthropologies between Broome and 23rd Street against zero in the non-Manhattan boroughs. Six stores within 5 miles of each other. It's an embarrassment of riches that might make even Starbucks blush.

In a city where anything further than 10 blocks away may as well be on the other side of the world it's nice to have Anthropologies drifting closer and closer to me. More stores also means more chances of finding an item I want in-stock, avoiding the ever-increasing wait of charge/sends in favor of picking up the piece myself. But I have to wonder if this is becoming too much. By comparison, Anthropologie's younger-skewing sibling Urban Outfitters has eight Manhattan locations. J.Crew has about 13 stores in the city (of which four are men's shops, two are collection stores and at least one is a Crewcuts location) and the Gap has just under 20. It's too early to say whether the newest Anthro will be a regular store or an accessories store. I am told it will not be a BHLDN.

Does Anthropologie aspire to become ubiquitous? In recent quarterly earnings calls the leadership team has repeated its commitment to expansion both here and abroad. I worry that if the store becomes too common the pieces I love for being special will start appearing more frequently on the street. If the city is so important to Anthro, why not open a location in Brooklyn or Queens? Manhattan is pretty much Anthro-plenty. I rarely hit all the stores anymore -- Rockefeller and the UES locations are infrequent stops for me now.

There is another side to this story. I heard the news about the Bowery store while in Waikiki Beach, which has no Anthropologie stores. During college I lived in a no-Anthro zone and it was a big deal to make the trip down to southern Denver to visit the nearest location. My childhood shopping malls in Danbury and Stamford, CT still lack an Anthropologie. Maybe the question isn't so much of too many stores but of the concentration of stores.

I thought it would be nice to open a community discussion about this. How many Anthropologie stores are within an hour of you? What towns that don't have an Anthropologie store should get one? New York Anthro lovers, are you excited about the upcoming Bowery location?

Further reading:
Anthropologie to open boutique at 250 Bowery -- Bowery Boogie