Urban Outfitters is known to the world over as a hipster haven. Do you have a crop-top emergency? Head over to Urban Outfitters. Need something mustache-themed? UO has you covered.
But apparently, customers don't just go to Urban Outfitters to quench their thirst for the latest styles. Customers get a little nostalgic at Urban Outfitters, too.
Urban Outfitters is now the No.1 retailer of vinyl records, said the chain's Chief Administrative Officer Calvin Hollinger during a conference call with industry analysts this past week, as reported by Forbes. "Music is very, very important to the Urban customer ... in fact, we are the world's number one vinyl seller," Hollinger said.
This is much better news from a PR perspective than when Urban Outfitters last made headlines. Last week, the retailer came under fire for selling a blood-spattered sweatshirt with the Kent State logo on it, which many thought inappropriately referenced the May 4, 1970 shooting by the National Guard that killed four students and wounded nine others on the college campus.
Urban Outfitters didn't disclose sales numbers, but all in all it's not that surprising that the retailer would win the top spot in this category. Other than indie and specialty shops, not too many stores sell vinyl records these days. With Urban Outfitters already having a strong reputation for serving hipsters and all their nostalgic needs, it seems likely that people would come to associate vinyl records with the retailer, too. Not to mention, Urban Outfitters sells a lot of decorative items and knickknacks, in addition to clothing, which vinyl records fit in perfectly with for their kitsch factor these days.
Still, as Forbes notes, it is impressive that Urban Outfitters sells more records than huge online retailers like Amazon. The company says that part of the reason why it has found success with record sales is because the store doesn't buy the records it sells but "rents" its shelf space, both in the store and online, which helps maximize profit and give an appealing opportunity to emerging artists to sell their music.
Vinyl record sales aren't limited to large chain stores like Urban Outfitters. In 2012, 64 percent of vinyl albums were bought at an independent music store, Billboard reported. While album sales have been on the decline in the U.S., sales of vinyl records have been on an upswing in recent years. In 2013, 6.1 million vinyl albums were sold, which was 33 percent more than the previous year and the highest number of records sold since SoundScan launched in 1991.
If you thought Millennials were flocking to Urban Outfitters for all of their music needs, think again. The retailer has actually drifted away from its target consumer of 18 to 28-year-olds and has gained more high school-aged customers in recent years, the company's Chief Executive Officer Dick Hayne said during a conference call in March.
Urban Outfitters' next challenge? Bringing back the 8-track.