Urban Outfitters Monday said it will acquire The Vetri Family group of restaurants, including its popular Pizzeria Vetri, a Philadelphia-based chain of Italian restaurants.
The Vetri restaurant group was co-founded and run by Italian-trained award-winning chef Marc Vetri. Vetri himself and the pizzeria have been flagged by Food and Wine magazine as among the best in America.
Urban Outfitters shares were down after the announcement, but some analysts see the move as a smart one considering the appeal of eating out these days.
Many observers expressed bewilderment at Urban’s announcement that it would acquire a James Beard award-winning chef’s restaurant chain. But others noted that retailers, from main street drugstores to upscale department stores, have long had eateries of various kinds within their walls. And many Ikea shoppers swear they go for both the Swedish meatballs and the Swedish-named book shelves.
Including food among store offerings, of course, is actually a tried and true way to keep customers there longer and to round out the “customer experience.” And these days consumers are spending prioritizing spending on eating out rather than on apparel.
It’s unclear, though, whether the restaurants will actually be housed inside any of Urban Outfitters’ stores or if the diversification is more for its portfolio of brands, which include teen-apparel Urban Outfitters, bohemian clothing retailers Free People and Anthropologie (which have boosted the company's results in recent quarters), bohemian wedding apparel bran BHLDN, and home-and-garden line Terrain.
Many Terrain stores have cafes, so the company has already moved into food territory. And teenagers — flagship brand Urban Outfitters' target consumer — do love pizza.
As chef Vetri said in his statement: “It’s a perfect match.”
We’ll see. Urban Outfitters shares were down after the announcement, but investors may just need time to adjust to the idea.