Apr 1, 2009
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Urban Outfitters 1st quarter sales trending weaker

Apr 1, 2009

BANGALORE, April 1 (Reuters) - Urban Outfitters Inc (URBN.O) said comparable-store sales trends in the current quarter have decelerated from the fourth quarter, sending its shares down as much as 9 percent.

Urban Outfitters 2008

"Thus far during fiscal 2010, total company sales are less than the same period in the prior year," the company said in filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company known for its Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie stores and its Free People apparel line has seen sales at its stores fall even after offering huge discounts as cash-strapped shoppers tighten purse strings in the recession.

"We believe much of the pressure on first-quarter sales is coming from the Anthropologie division, which we believe is comping significantly negative," Stifel Nicolaus analyst Richard Jaffe said in a note to clients.

Economic uncertainty, market volatility and higher average retail prices are likely affecting the Anthropologie customer more than the Urban Outfitters customer, Jaffe said, adding he sees comparable store sales in the current quarter for the overall business down 12 percent.

Urban Outfitters, whose rivals include Aeropostale Inc (ARO.N) and American Eagle Outfitters Inc (AEO.N), posted a weaker-than-expected profit in its latest fourth quarter after markdowns crimped earnings during the holiday shopping season.

In a separate regulatory filing on Wednesday, Urban Outfitters said Chief Executive Glen Senk's total pay rose 29 percent in fiscal 2009 from a year earlier.

Senk's total 2009 compensation was about $3.2 million, including salary, bonus, the value of stock and option awards and other compensation, according to the proxy filing.

Although Senk's bonus for 2009 was much smaller than a year ago, his non-equity incentive plan compensation more than tripled to $1.0 million.

Urban Outfitters will hold its annual meeting on May 19 at Philadelphia.

The stock fell to an intraday low of $14.91, before paring some losses to trade down $1.30 at $15.07 in the early afternoon on Nasdaq.

(Editing by Tim Dobbyn and Andre Grenon)

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