Urban Outfitters, Inc., a leading lifestyle specialty retail company operating under the Anthropologie, Bhldn, Free People, Terrain and Urban Outfitters brands, announced net income of $37 million for the three months ended April 30, 2014. Earnings per diluted share were $0.26 for the three months ended April 30, 2014.
Total Company net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 increased 6% over the same quarter last year to a record $686 million. Comparable Retail segment net sales, which include our comparable direct-to-consumer channel, were flat. Comparable Retail segment net sales increased 25% at Free People and 8% at the Anthropologie Group and decreased 12% at Urban Outfitters. Wholesale segment net sales increased 27%.
"I am pleased to announce record URBN first quarter sales driven by strong performances at both the Anthropologie and Free People brands," said Richard A. Hayne, Chief Executive Officer. "While Anthropologie and Free People continue to deliver record levels in sales and profits, Urban Outfitters had a disappointing quarter and is working diligently to regain its fashion footing," finished Mr. Hayne.
For the three months ended April 30, 2014, the gross profit rate declined by 209 basis points versus the prior year's comparable period. The decline in gross profit rate was primarily due to a deleverage in store occupancy costs driven by negative store comparable sales at the Urban Outfitters brand and pre-opening rent expense related to new stores. Lower merchandise margins at the Urban Outfitters brand resulting from poor performing product also contributed to the decline.
As of April 30, 2014, total inventories increased by $24 million, or 7%, on a year-over-year basis. The growth in total inventories is primarily related to the acquisition of inventory to stock new and non-comparable stores. Comparable Retail segment inventories increased 2% at cost while decreasing 5% in units.
For the three months ended April 30, 2014, selling, general and administrative expenses, expressed as a percentage of net sales, increased 45 basis points compared to the prior year period. The increase was primarily due to increased marketing expenses which drove higher direct-to-consumer traffic.
The Company's effective tax rate for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 was 37.0% compared to 35.4% in the prior year period. The increase in the rate was due to a true-up in state taxes.
During the third quarter of fiscal 2014, the Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of 10.0 million common shares under a share repurchase program. During the first quarter of fiscal 2015, the Company repurchased and retired 9.7 million common shares for approximately $353 million completing the share repurchase authorization.