By Benyamin Davidsons
Barneys New York, the iconic retailer, is back after an 11-month absence. The bankrupt trend-setter had plans for a revival, which were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The luxury department store brand, founded in 1923 in New York City, is now back in its hometown. It opened on Friday under the name Barneys at Saks, inside Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store at 611 Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The location is just a few blocks north of Barneys’ old flagship store on Madison , and is roughly a fifth of the size of the store which was closed in early 2020 following its second bankruptcy.
As reported by Crain’s NY, the Barney’s at Saks store spans 54,000 square feet, and was initially due to open last September, but the Coronavirus pandemic delayed the plans. The retailer boasts that it will be refreshing merchandise constantly and offering feature selections by established as well as emerging designers. On opening day, the store had customized mini-shops featuring labels such as Fear of God, Reese Cooper and A-Cold-Wall. It is also offering VIP shopping suites, style advisers and after-hours appointments for customers.
The opening is exciting news for luxury shopping enthusiasts as well as the fallen retailer. Barneys had succumbed to the gloomy decline of the Brick and Mortar retailers, liquidating its merchandise last February. The 97-year-old luxury brand was purchased last year by fashion licensing company Authentic Brands Group and financial firm B. Riley for $271.4 million.
Authentic Brands Group, which holds a massive portfolio of more than 50 brands, licensed Barneys to Saks in North America. Saks, which has been owned since 2013 by the oldest commercial corporation in North America, the Hudson’s Bay Company, also has exclusive rights to the Barneys NY name online. The SaksFifthAvenue.com website has its own distinct webpages selling designer brands under the Barneys name.
The retailer has plans to open its first standalone ‘Barneys at Saks’ store in Greenwich, Connecticut, on January 25, as per Crain’s. That 14,000-square-foot store will offer women’s and men’s apparel and shoes. There are also plans to revive Fred’s, the Barneys restaurant, this year, but details have not yet been divulged.
Authentic Brands also has plans to expand Barneys internationally and is working on an initiative to sell in China and Korea over the next two years. It already has six Barneys stores and five outlets in Japan through a licensing agreement with Seven & i Holdings.