Critical Analysis: Urban Outfitters (URBN) and Express (EXPR)

Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ: URBN) and Express (NYSE:EXPR) are both retail/wholesale companies, but which is the superior business? We will compare the two companies based on the strength of their profitability, earnings, valuation, risk, dividends, analyst recommendations and institutional ownership.


This table compares Urban Outfitters and Express’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Urban Outfitters 4.92% 13.61% 9.27%
Express 0.85% 4.25% 2.24%

Risk and Volatility

Urban Outfitters has a beta of 0.62, indicating that its stock price is 38% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Express has a beta of 1.47, indicating that its stock price is 47% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

87.6% of Urban Outfitters shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 99.2% of Express shares are held by institutional investors. 26.3% of Urban Outfitters shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 2.6% of Express shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Urban Outfitters and Express’ revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Urban Outfitters $3.53 billion 0.73 $407.95 million $1.49 15.66
Express $2.13 billion 0.22 $148.37 million $0.23 26.44

Urban Outfitters has higher revenue and earnings than Express. Urban Outfitters is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Express, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent recommendations for Urban Outfitters and Express, as provided by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Urban Outfitters 3 16 6 0 2.12
Express 0 8 0 0 2.00

Urban Outfitters presently has a consensus target price of $22.00, suggesting a potential downside of 5.70%. Express has a consensus target price of $8.50, suggesting a potential upside of 39.80%. Given Express’ higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Express is more favorable than Urban Outfitters.


Urban Outfitters beats Express on 10 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters, Inc. is a lifestyle specialty retail company. The Company operates through two segments: Retail and Wholesale. The Company’s Retail segment consists of its Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and Bhldn brands, whose merchandise is sold to its customers through retail stores, Websites, mobile applications, catalogs and customer contact centers. The Retail segment also includes Vetri Family, which operates restaurants under the names Amis, Alla Spina, Lo Spiedo, Pizzeria Vetri and Osteria. Its Wholesale segment consists of the Free People wholesale division that primarily designs, develops and markets young women’s contemporary casual apparel and shoes through individual and chain specialty stores and department stores. The Company’s Wholesale segment includes Free People-branded tops, bottoms, sweaters, dresses, intimates, shoes and activewear, which are sold through department and specialty stores around the world, and its Free People stores.

About Express

Express, Inc. is a specialty apparel and accessories retailer offering both women’s and men’s merchandise. The Company targets women and men between 20 and 30 years old. It offers an assortment of fashionable apparel and accessories to address fashion needs across multiple aspects of lifestyles, including work, casual, jeanswear and going-out occasions. It is engaged in the operation of its brick-and-mortar retail and outlet stores, e-commerce operations and franchise operations. It sells its products through its e-commerce Website, and its mobile application, and has franchise agreements with franchisees that operate Express locations in Latin America. It operated 656 stores across the United States, in Canada and in Puerto Rico, including 104 factory outlet stores, as of January 28, 2017. Its products are created by its in-house design team. Its portfolio of apparel products includes brands, such as Portofino shirt, Editor pant and 1MX shirt.

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