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PHILADELPHIA-Reporting a record-breaking third quarter, Urban Outfitters likely will return to historic expansion levels this year, executives said at the company’s third quarter conference call.

With plans on track to open 32 to 34 new stores during 2009, the company now plans closer to its typical 50-store expansion next year. Management is calling for Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People to open between 15 to 20 units each, the company said.

“We absolutely opened or will open less stores than we expected to [this year,” said Glen T. Senk, CEO. “When the economy reset, we took a hard look at costs and laid a line in the sand. We all feel fairly comfortable that we will get back to our targeted number next year. We have quite a few deals in the pipeline.”

During the nine months ended Oct. 31, the company opened a total of 25 new stores, consisting of nine Urban Outfitters stores, 12 Anthropologie units–including its first European store, on Regents Street in London–and four Free People stores. In the fourth quarter, the company will open eight units: three Urban Outfitters units in North America and one in Europe and four Anthropologies in North America.

For the quarter, net sales were $506 million, up 6% over the same quarter of last year. Comparable-store sales declined 2%. Earnings were $62.4 million, up from $59.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

As of Oct. 31, Urban Outfitters operated 151 Urban Outfitters stores in the United States, Canada, and Europe; 133 Anthropologie stores in the United States and Europe, 34 Free People stores, and one Terrain garden center.

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