People may soon be able to try on clothes at Urban Outfitters with pizza grease stained hands. The clothing store company last week bought the Philadelphia based Vetri Family restaurant group, which includes the popular Pizzeria Vetri. While a restaurant group may not seem like a logical purchase for a company primarily known for selling nostalgic hipster décor, Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn says there is a long history of merging retail and other eye-catching attractions.
“People want experiences. People are much less interested in going into stores for the purpose of shopping as entertainment per se,” Koehn said on Boston Public Radio Tuesday.
“Get them in for whatever reason and they’re more likely to buy something that they didn’t come in for,” she said.
According to Koehn, Marshall Fields, one of the first department stores in Chicago, used to have a lavish flagship store filled with not only retail shopping, but a restaurant, a bank, a travel bureau, and even a concierge for theater tickets.
“Marshall Fields was designed to be a place that would never let you go,” Koehn said. “The more time people spend in stores, the more they spend in dollars. That part is not new here.”
Listen to our interview with Nancy Koehn above.