Fringe Box



Is Showcase Fashion Store Destined for Guildford High Street?

Published on: 14 Jun, 2013
Updated on: 15 Jun, 2013
The empty High Street Shop opposite Sainsbury's in The High Street where Anthropologie has applied to hang a sign.

The empty High Street Shop opposite Sainsbury’s in The High Street where URBN UK, the parent company of Anthropologie has applied to hang a sign.

Exclusive report from Maria Rayner

Those who consider shopping to be an experience rather than a necessity might be excited with the news of a possible new fashion store arriving at 149 High Street.

URBN UK Ltd, parent company of Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, has applied to hang a sign over the building, vacant since the departure of Habitat. As Guildford already has one of the 24 branches of Urban Outfitters in the Friary Centre, the suspicion is that Anthropologie are set to take over the empty premises.

If a branch of this chain does materialise it will be seen by local fashionistas as a coup for Guildford. There are currently no Anthropologie stores outside of the USA, other than those in the capital cities of London and Edinburgh.

Shopper, Justine McMillan, was delighted with the news: “Now I can save the train fare to London and spend it [in Guildford instead].”

The ethos behind the American stores is that shopping should be a lifestyle experience. The shops are artistically designed to make them attractive and enjoyable for browsing. Within the single store it is possible to buy a new dress and some cushions, a book and a dinner plate.

This type of store is flourishing in spite of internet sales which have dented many traditional shops as the environment encourages impulse purchases and a sense that what is being bought is unique. The chain also sells through the internet and from a catalogue.

No one from URBN UK was available for comment, but Experience Guildford’s General Manager, Amanda Masters said: “We haven’t heard officially, but all clues point to Anthropologie.”

Wikipedia says: “Anthropologie is known to have some of the most creative and elaborate decor showcased in their windows and throughout the inside of their stores. Most of their home good items are hand made by various artists around the globe.”

Their own website states: “Anthropologie offers a one-of-a-kind and compelling shopping experience that makes you feel beautiful, hopeful and connected. We invite you into our world … with the hope you take a deep breath and explore until your heart’s content.

“We’ve been getting to know you ever since 1992, when we opened our very first store in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

“Although you enjoy the clever details and fine craftsmanship of our products, you come to us for more than that. You come to escape and to connect, to spend time and to make time.

“Complex as you are, you remain our inspiration and because of this, we endeavour to bring you an unimagined experience.”

According to the Work Smart website, URBN UK Ltd reported for 2010/11 a turnover of £69 million which had gradually risen from a figure of around £4m in 2001. The company operated at a loss until 2007 but in 2010/11 it reported a profit of £5 million or nearly £8,000 for each of the 670 employees.

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *