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PHILADELPHIA-Same-store sales at Urban Outfitters Inc.’s combined three chains dropped 1% year over year during the company’s fourth quarter. Total sales rose 9%, hitting $508 million, while earnings fell to $41 million from $54 million during the same year-ago period.

By chain, same-store sales rose 3% at the retailer’s 142 Urban Outfitters stores, fell 6% at its 121 Anthropologie units and dropped 13% at its 30 Free People locations. Urban Outfitters stores performed best in the South and in malls, while Anthropologie did well in the West in urban areas.

The quarter was a sharp contrast to the retailer’s prior three-month period, when same-store sales at its three chains–combined–rose 10% year over year. “The consumer is buying what she loves and is shopping her closet for the rest of her wardrobe,” said Glen Senk, Urban Outfitters’ chief executive officer, during a fourth-quarter conference call.

Senk blamed the economy for the sales dip, not a lack of innovation in fashion, as some critics have said of the apparel sector. “There is a lot of fashion right now,” he said. “Anyone who says there is not fashion right now is missing it.”

The company plans to open 42 to 45 new stores in the coming fiscal year, slightly down from the 50 that were previously forecast. “As we negotiate harder on deals going forward, some of the deals are taking longer than projected,” said John Kyees, chief financial officer.

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