Barneys files for bankruptcy, will close 15 stores

06 Août, 2019, 19:09 | Auteur: Auguste Feret

Barneys' decision to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is the latest sign of a tough trading backdrop for United States retailers, who are expected to close a total of 9,000 stores this year, according to estimates from Cushman and Wakefield, the property advisory firm.

"Luxury is actually doing well; the issue is luxury department stores", said Farla Efros, president of consulting firm HRC Retail Advisory.

Barneys has secured $75m (£61m) in new financing from Hilco Global and the Gordon Brothers Group to stay afloat.

The retailer, which first opened its doors in NY in 1923, said it would close 15 of its 22 stores, including flagship branches in Chicago, Las Vegas and Seattle, five small concept outlets and seven Barneys Warehouse discount stores.

"In response to these obstacles, the Barneys New York board and management team have taken decisive action by entering into a court-supervised process, which will provide the company the necessary tools to conduct a sale process, review our current leases and optimise our operations". It will also maintain its Barneys Warehouse stores in New York's Woodbury Common and Livermore, California. Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor are among other recent retail casualties in Manhattan.

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Barneys sought to downsize the Madison Avenue store to reduce the annual rent, which tripled this year, Bloomberg previously reported.

E-commerce retailers like Shopbob, Moda Operandi and Net-a-Porter offer consumers a more convenient alternative to store browsing, without overhead costs. It now employs 2,300 people, according to court papers.

Barneys also listed high-end brands The Row, Celine, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Gucci and Prada among its largest creditors, with debts ranging from $1.6 million to $3.7 million. During Vitale's tenure, the company has grown its online sales to $200 million from around $18 million and reduced its reliance on stores.

Bankruptcies have hit the industry hard this year. Although the fund was closed down in 2016, Perry continues to own Barneys, with an estimated stake of 72%.

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