We shopped at Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie to see which store was superior and why their parent company is struggling. What we saw made everything clear.

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  • Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters are both branches of a larger parent brand, URBN – in the last three months, its shares have dropped nearly 15.9%.
  • Both stores are famous for similar bohemian styles, yet each brand has its trademark audience. We visited both to see why the brand is struggling and to determine which store is better to shop at.
  • Though more expensive, Anthropologie won us over with its elegant store design and large inventory outside of clothing.
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They both offer bohemian-style clothing loaded with colour and whimsical prints – but which store does it better?

Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters were born from the same parent company, so naturally, they’re similar in a lot of ways. Still, each store has managed to carve out totally separate identities with their own unique customer base.

Anthropologie is known to cater to an older audience with its higher prices and extravagant inventory. Urban Outfitters, on the other hand, is the brand of choice for more spending-conscious shoppers who still want clothing with interesting patterns and textures.

We shopped at both stores to see which offers the better shopping experience. Anthropologie won us over with its grandiose store and diverse inventory outside of just clothes.


First, we stopped by Anthropologie.

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I visited the location Manhattan’s Financial District (not pictured). Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The store’s layout was incredibly spacious. The clothing was neatly arranged on wooden tables and simple metal racks.

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The high ceiling’s intricate geometric design gave the store a regal and luxurious atmosphere. Massive columns made the room appear larger than life.

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The design of the store practically screamed “rural.” The rustic wood panels on the floor and the wooden display tables helped contribute to this overall theme.

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Anthropologie tends to be on the more expensive side. Luckily, I was there during its summer sale and some items were up to 70% off.

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Still, the store was practically empty and the prices were pretty high. This tiger-print dress was $US150.

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Downstairs, there was more clothing to browse. Many items had earthy tones that fit nicely with the colour scheme of the store.

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And most pieces had that signature bohemian Anthropologie look.

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In addition to clothing, Anthropologie has a large selection of home goods. There was a whole table of scented candles …

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… as well a stationary and notebook section.

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Downstairs, I found the Anthropologie Design Center — the store’s department for home improvement and decoration.

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The design center allows customers to book appointments with an in-home stylist to design every detail of a space, from wallpaper to custom furniture.

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There were some mock rooms on display to give customers an idea of how their homes could look. A closer look revealed some items were pricier than I anticipated. One coffee table was selling for almost $US2,000.

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There was a neatly-organised selection of health and beauty products …

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… as well as a glass-enclosed display of handcrafted jewellery by Jemma Sands, a collection from the West Coast that uses natural and ethically-sourced stones and gems in its jewellery.

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Nearby, I found a table of cute hair accessories and headbands.

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Of course, a trip to Anthropologie would not be complete without a requisite visit to the sale section — luckily, this store had a huge one.

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The clothes in the sale room were arranged by colour. There was a bunch of cute items to choose from — and with up to 70% off certain items, the price was right.

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This cute textured dress was on sale for less than $US100 — still somewhat expensive, but not too bad.

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Next, we walked across the street to Urban Outfitters.

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True to its name, this store had an urban and unfinished quality. It felt like walking into a building that was in the process of construction.

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In some sections, the store was literally unfinished. While I was browsing, I noticed a few shelves being constructed before my eyes …

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… and a wall being painted in the middle of the store. Luckily, this construction fit in with the “in-development” theme of the store. But it was still a bit distracting.

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Unlike Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters carried more casual clothing for everyday wear. There was a large selection of graphic tees …

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… as well as hoodies.

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This photo booth was a perfect addition to the Urban Outfitters experience — it fit in with the vintage atmosphere of the store.

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So did these Polaroid cameras available for purchase nearby.

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Though smaller, Urban Outfitters also had a home goods section — and it was definitely less expensive than Anthropologie’s.

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Like Anthropologie, there was also a variety of beauty products.

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Urban Outfitters also had a sale room — and items were going for an additional 40% off.

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The sale racks were more disorganized here than the ones at Anthropologie. But on average, there were better deals to be found here. This colourful plaid dress was going for under $US25 after all the sale discounts.

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Of course, not all items were a bargain. This chiffon gown was priced at $US350.

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For the most part, the deals were hard to beat at Urban Outfitters. But around almost every corner, it seemed like disorganization and messiness was lurking.

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In some cases, the mess was incredibly distracting.

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Downstairs, I found a large men’s section — something that Anthropologie lacks — with everything from shirts and shorts …

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… to shoes.

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I also found an all-gender fitting room downstairs near the men’s section.

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Urban Outfitters offered a totally different experience than Anthropologie. In some ways, it felt more tailored to the average person. Unfortunately, this often came with a mess that significantly detracted from the quality of the store.

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I could see Anthropologie from the second-floor window of Urban Outfitters — Overall, the experience at Anthropologie was far more enjoyable, from the store’s design to the merchandise available. Though more expensive, Anthropologie won me over this time. Still, the slow customer traffic/high price combination at Anthropologie and the mess at Urban Outfitters suggest a few reasons for the company’s recent slump.

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