September 25, 2014
Originally posted on FACT.
Urban Outfitters may be best known as big-time purveyors of commodifiable hipsterdom, but recently the chain announced that they are the world’s biggest seller of vinyl records.
The recent resurgence of vinyl sales has continued with a total of 6.1 million albums sold in the United States in 2013, the highest number since 1991. The figures for this year are set to be even higher.
In what may be considered as a sign of the times, clothing giants Urban Outfitters shifted more slabs of black wax than any other retailer. “Music is very, very important to the Urban customer… in fact, we are the world’s number one vinyl seller” said Calvin Hollinger, the company’s chief administrative officer.
The success of Urban Outfitters in the volatile vinyl market can be attributed to an innovative inventory model in which Urban Outfitters essentially rents out their record shelves to over 100 different vendors. The retailer provides stores with an online list of inventory which they can then stock on consignment.
As it turns out, many of the consumers purchasing vinyl from Urban Outfitters are those that grew up in the generation of Napster, Limewire and Spotify. Whether you will soon be able to get that next L.I.E.S. 12″ when you’re picking up your new inflatable beer pong hat remains to be seen.