Urban Outfitters buys Italian restaurant chain.

Move comes as company continues to diversify

Urban Outfitters in Dundrum. The company is buying a chain of Italian restaurants

Urban Outfitters in Dundrum. The company is buying a chain of Italian restaurants

 

Urban Outfitters a retailer known for selling clothes and quirky housewares, is making an offbeat acquisition of its own: an Italian restaurant chain.

The Philadelphia-based company has agreed to purchase the Vetri Family group of restaurants, including Pizzeria Vetri, according to a statement on Monday. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The Vetri Family restaurant group was started by Marc Vetri, a chef trained in Italy, and business partner Jeff Benjamin. Urban Outfitters isn’t a stranger to food service – some of its bigger stores include cafes – but acquiring a restaurant chain is an unusual move for a large retailer.

The idea is to use Urban Outfitters to help the restaurants expand while Vetri Family focuses on the food, Marc Vetri said in the statement. “It’s a perfect match,” he said.

Urban Outfitters has made other moves to diversify its operations. In recent years, the company created a gardening- focused offshoot named Terrain and a wedding brand called BHLDN. It’s now using products from those divisions to expand the selection of home goods at its Anthropologie chain.

Sales in the broader retail industry remain sluggish – partly because of a slowdown in foot traffic at US malls – and that’s weighed on Urban Outfitters’ stock. The shares have fallen 34 per cent this year, including a drop of 6 per cent on Monday.

- Bloomberg