The Anthropologie you know and love is changing, but fans of the brand’s homewares, furniture, and beauty selections may find the new concept suits them just fine.
Anthropologie, which is owned by Philadelphia-based company URBN, announced its intentions to roll out a new plan for customer experience, dubbed Anthropologie & Co., back in 2016. Only seven of the company’s roughly 220 stores across the US and Europe have been expanded into the new concept so far. The first of those stores in the greater DC area opens today to the public at 3222 M Street, Northwest, in Georgetown; the company also plans to open a second area Anthropologie & Co. at Bethesda Row this fall.
The new Anthropologie & Co. is greatly expanded from the store’s former space on M Street. The renovations added a third floor to create 15,000 square feet of retail, much of which is dedicated to a new model of boutique “stations” throughout the space. In an interview with Business of Fashion, then chief executive officer of the Anthropologie group David W. McCreight drew the comparison that many observers have already made: that the new experience harkens back to traditional department store shopping (albeit with the heavy dose of the whimsy the brand is known for).
The fresh elements include a furniture showroom and home design center that allows prospective customers to shop Anthropologie’s furniture section in person instead of on the company’s website. Similarly, Anthropologie’s beauty category will expand, focusing on limited-ingredient clean beauty products from brands such as Caudalie, NuFace, and Sunday Riley. The store is also making moves to get in on the booming wellness trend, revealing a designated “wellness” section stocked with aromatherapy tools, essential oils, and yes, crystals.
Anthropologie’s bridal boutique, BHLDN, will also have dedicated space in the new location and traditional clothing and intimates will still maintain a strong presence, with the addition of a dedicated shoe boutique.
One interesting twist is the brand’s expansion into food: the Georgetown Anthropologie & Co. has a small sweets shop in the store, stocking brands from across the world (including the DC chocolatier Harper Macaw). Other Anthropologie & Co. locations have courted the food community even more heavily. The Palo Alto store initially partnered with James Beard Award-winning chef Marc Vetri to bring a restaurant to the location (since taken over by Steve Linneman). The forthcoming Bethesda store will also have a restaurant element and will include a Terrain, URBN’s popular home and garden outfitter.
The expansion of Anthropologie & Co. is just one of a few growth strategies URBN has adopted in order to compete in a struggling retail market. Of late the brand has explored such diverse avenues as building registries, opening event spaces, and even partnering with competitor Nordstrom on a home goods department. The Anthropologie & Co. store promises to be among the largest, though McCreight has also stated that the company plans to put a cap on the expanded locations at roughly 40 locations.
Correction: In a previous version of this article David McCreight was listed as the chief executive officer of the Anthropologie group. He has since left that role.