Urban Outfitters ($URBN) reported "record holiday sales" for the fourth quarter of 2018, posting strong same-store sales increases of 5% at all of its stores including Free People and Anthropologie. Despite this, investors sent the company's stock down 2.5% after the market closed on January 11, as it was in line with (rather than beat) analyst expectations.
While we can't get inside the heads of investors — we really, really wish we could — we do have data on Urban Outfitters that helps paint a picture of why they had their most successful holiday season yet.
Right before the 2018 holiday season, Urban Outfitters was hiring at an 18-month peak, listing as much as 1,887 job openings on September 27, 2018. This hiring surge was one for the Urban Outfitters record books; the top-13 biggest hiring days for the company came during a two week span that saw the company gear up for the holidays.
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But upon closer inspection of the overall trend, Urban Outfitters usually hires en masse before the holiday rush; in 2017, a similar rise was seen during late October and early November.
Much like right now, January 2018 saw a sharp decline in open positions at all of Urban Outfitters' brands, so those looking for a retail job there are going to have to deal with the same slow market seen in retail across the board.