Urban Outfitters is getting into the garden business. According to Open Register the publicly traded hip clothing store chain is going to start stand alone garden stores with, home and garden products, live plants and flowers, and oddly enough, antiques. The new concept will launch its first large, free-standing sites early next year.
My gut instinct says this is bound to fail. Unlike Smith and Hawken which started out as a small two man operation and grew to the monolith it is now, Urban Outfitters is going into it with a corporate mindset from the start which will no doubt prevent it from being too original. It sounds lucrative to address this high end gardening market and Urban Outfitters new stores will probably be well designed to appeal to that high-end crowd. Publicly traded companies like Urban Outfitters must show constant growth to its share holders, which is hard to do in the garden center business. The stores may start out and initially be received well but time will tell if they should have stuck with what they know best, clothing and clothing accessories.