Closure of Urban Outfitters in London, Ont. is sign of changing demographics and spending habits

The big bright Urban Outfitters store sign that has been a staple in downtown London, Ont. for over a decade has been removed.

What was once a showroom filled with trendy clothing is now nothing but an empty space.

“It was an empty space when it converted from a blockbuster to the Urban Outfitters that it is now, or that it was, so this is just another change as we’ve been saying,” said downtown Coun. David Ferreira.

The brick and mortar lifestyle clothing store at the main entry point to the north side of downtown shut down last week.

The Downtown London BIA said they are disappointed to see the key anchor leave the core, but this is another sign of changing consumer patterns.

“We’re just seeing changing demographics, changing spending habits, and I think that’s playing out in our downtown and the type of business mix that we’re attracting,” explained Barbara Maly, Downtown London executive director.

Ferreira agrees, adding that we need to shift the focus on how many other businesses have actually opened in recent months.

“We are actually getting more businesses opening up than we are seeing shutter down, obviously there is a focus on the core losing its businesses, but what you need to see is it’s outweighed by the businesses that are opening downtown,” added Ferreira.

Exterior of former Urban Outfitters at corner of Richmond Street and Oxford Street seen on Jan. 30, 2024. (Reta Ismail/CTV News London)

Downtown London BIA said 53 new businesses opened and 17 closed in 2023. They are not concerned the space will sit vacant for too long.

“I think it would be an excellent opportunity for a new business to set up there, and that’s what we are seeing with a lot of our businesses that have closed, soon there after, it’s filled,” said Maly.

The two-story building at the southwest corner of Richmond Street and Oxford Street is now listed for sale for $6.3-million.

Urban Outfitters did not respond to a request for an interview.

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