Fashion retailer Urban Outfitters has expanded into Japan through a distribution agreement with apparel firm World Co.

World Co will sell Free People branded products in Japan starting with the spring 2013 collection. Under the multi-year deal, World Co will have the right to distribute merchandise through shop-in-shop stores, stand-alone stores and direct-to-consumer websites and market the brand in Japan.

"Together we expect to build the same customer awareness and brand loyalty in the Japanese market that Free People currently enjoys domestically," said Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne.

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Urban Outfitters Announces Exclusive Distribution Agreement for Free People in Japan

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 8, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Urban Outfitters, Inc. (Nasdaq:URBN), a leading lifestyle specialty retail company, is pleased to announce an exclusive distribution and marketing agreement with World Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Kobe, Japan) for its Free People brand in Japan.

"We are excited to partner with World Co., Ltd to help us expand the Free People brand in Japan," said Chief Executive Officer, Richard A. Hayne. "Free People designs compelling merchandise with a strong lifestyle message, and World brings deep expertise and a track record of marketing success in Japan. Together we expect to build the same customer awareness and brand loyalty in the Japanese Market that Free People currently enjoys domestically, finished Mr. Hayne."

"We are thrilled to be Free People's partner in Japan," said Hidezo Terai, World Co., Ltd Chief Executive Officer.  "Our two companies and people share many cultural values, including a focus on customer and respect for creativity. From this foundation I am confident together we will be successful in pleasing the Free People customer in Japan, finished Mr. Terai."

The multi-year agreement with World Co., Ltd. will mark URBN's first full-scale entry into the Japanese market, and is expected to commence with the Free People brand's spring 2013 collection. Under the agreement, World Co., Ltd will have the right to distribute merchandise through shop-in-shop locations, a stand-alone store, direct-to-consumer sites, distribute to specialty store and department store wholesale accounts, and market the brand throughout Japan.

Free People is a specialty clothing brand featuring the latest trends and collections for women who live free through fashion, art, music and travel. The eclectic offering consists of quality apparel, shoes, and accessories that, through its design invoke femininity and creativity. Free People is sold and marketed globally through www.FreePeople.com and www.FreePeople.co.uk, as well as in specialty boutiques, top department stores, and the brand's own free standing retail locations in the U.S. and Canada.  Additional information on Free People's wholesale business can be found atwww.FreePeopleWholesale.com.

Urban Outfitters, Inc. is an innovative specialty retail company which offers a variety of lifestyle merchandise to highly defined customer niches through 208 Urban Outfitters stores in the United States, Canada, and Europe, catalogs and websites; 176 Anthropologie stores in the United States, Canada and Europe, catalogs and websites; Free People wholesale, which sells its product to approximately 1,400 specialty stores and select department stores, 75 Free People stores, catalogs and website; 2 BHLDN stores and a website and 2 Terrain garden centers and website, as of September 30, 2012. For more information, visit www.urbn.com.

World Co., Ltd is a specialty-store retailer of private label women's, men's and kids apparel with headquarters in Kobe, Japan. Since its inception in 1959 as a knitwear wholesaler, World has expanded to include over 2,700 shops in operation with a focus on vertical integration across production, retail, marketing and ecommerce in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. For more information, visit http://corp.world.co.jp/english/

Original source: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/news.html?d=10007563