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When students return to campus in the fall, at least one University tradition will be gone. The Urban Outfitters at 4040 Locust Street will close its doors forever over the summer, according to Jay Hammer, Urban Outfitters' director of stores. Hammer explained that the store is closing due to "economic issues." "It's not so much the sales, but rather the lease expense," he said. Urban Outfitters was the site of several robberies in the past year, but Hammer did not mention crime as a reason for the move. He said the corporation decided against renewing its lease of the University City location when it expired last winter, and instead began a search for a new location. The corporation has negotiated with its landlord on a monthly basis since then in an attempt to remain in the building through June. "We wanted to remain open through the end of the school year," Hammer said. Although they have not yet identified a new site, Urban Outfitters is focusing their search in West Philadelphia and hope to find a location near Penn, according to Hammer. The corporation's roots in University City run deep, since its first store was located near Penn's campus. The store originally opened in 1970 at 4307 Locust Street as Free People, and moved to its current location at the Warehouse on Locust Street in 1976. Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs Carol Scheman said the University "sees [Urban Outfitters] as a valuable retailer, and we're working hard to keep them in the area." "They have a real history here," Scheman added. But store manager Shelly Nawroki refused to confirm that the Locust Street store was closing. Other employees admitted there had been discussion within the store about the potential closing, but said they had not been informed of any finalized decision. Hammer stressed, however, that all of the store's current employees will be "welcomed at their downtown location." "We understand they might ch0ose to go elsewhere," he added. Hammer also noted that some employees will have the option to work at Urban Outfitters branches in other cities, such as in Washington, D.C. The unique location of the Urban Outfitters in the Warehouse connects it to other West Philadelphia businesses such as Video Library and Boccie Pizzeria. A Video Library manager, who asked to remain anonymous, admitted she had heard "[the Urban Outfitters employees] all talking about [the store closing]." But she refused to comment on whether the store's closure would affect Video Library. Video Library Head Manager Mark Cahhon was not available for comment. The Boccie Pizzeria manager, who also requested to remain anonymous, was surprised to hear of Urban Outfitters' closing. "We will all be sorry to see it go though," the manager said. "Their business compliments ours well? and we always had a good working relationship."

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