Struggling to understand your people? So is Anthropologie, according to Barron's...

Monday, March 6, 2017

Is Anthropologie laughing with us or at us?
It just doesn't get its customer lately, according to Barron's.

Anthropologie parent company Urban Outfitters will hold its quarterly earnings call tomorrow and ahead of that Barron's has a pretty scathing article about the state of things with our favorite wayward retailer.

The article contains amusingly massive understatements like "Anthropologie seems to have misread consumer culture" while missing some of the greater reasons why, yet nailing the simple truth: the clothing has been too expensive lately considering the weird designs and poor quality materials.

I know this article was mentioned in the comments while I was on vacation but I wanted to give it its own post for further chatting. We'll go into deeper dissection once the quarterly call transcript becomes available, but I do wonder how Anthropologie seems to keep drifting further away from its target even as the corporate heads assure investors and analysts that they've got it right this time?

As a customer, it's disappointing. I don't find their designs to be particularly youthful or edgy -- certainly when I was 18 or even 25 this was not the way I wanted to dress -- but I am somewhat bemused that Anthro seems to keep chasing the most awful trends (cropped, off-shoulder, shapeless, etc.) while completely forgetting what made them so appealing in the first place. All it takes is reading the feedback about their clothing -- this thread is particularly startling in its bold dissent -- to know that we are not alone in our headscratching in this community. Seems like there is a loud majority asking Anthro to go back to what works!

Isn't it quite odd to anyone else that Anthropologie made its mark by producing items different from other retailers, yet seems so desperately now to want to mirror other retailers' offerings? No one is winning with that strategy, least of all loyal Anthro lovers!

You're way too young of a company to be having a midlife crisis Anthropologie. Give up trying to capture the youth you never had and be who you are -- a confident, wandering, imaginative soul who doesn't dress herself in sad sacks.

Thoughts?