Urban Warfare: Merkle to Add Marketing Muscle

Urban Outfitters' (URBN) personalized service and unique product -- the attributes that have netted the company our best in class designation for the young, hip retail set -- just got a booster shot.

The specialty retailer announced on Monday that it will be working with database marketing agency Merkle to create software applications to allow the company to analyze information about customers who shop at its Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People stores.

Merkle, a privately owned firm headquartered in Columbia, MD, employs more than 1,000 workers and has performed similar work for the likes of Blockbuster and Geico. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it was announed by the company that Merkle "will support the retailer's direct, Web and in-store activities."

Urban Outfitters CIO Calvin Hollinger said: "We see Merkle as a strategic partner that we will work closely with to better understand and more effectively communicate with our customers. In selecting Merkle, we are taking a new approach to consistently promote each of our brands to customers in a unique way, while also gaining critical intelligence regarding consumer buying behavior across a complex array of channels and marketing programs."

Urban Outfitters has, despite the recent downturn in the retail sector, been able to beat its competition by offering unique products that shoppers are willing to pay for at full-price. Through inventory management the company has been able to stave off price cuts and blaring promotions some of its competitors have been using to drive sales.

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