Henri Bendel to Close After 123 Years

It’s the end of an era for Henri Bendel.

The upscale retailer is closing, parent company L Brands Inc. announced today.

L Brands, which acquired Bendel in 1985, unveiled plans to shut down the brand’s website and 23 locations by January. Bendel opened its doors in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1895, expanding into its current Fifth Avenue flagship in 1913.

Sluggish sales led to its decision to shutter the Bendel business, L Brands said. The conglomerate noted that it now intends to focus on other brands with a larger growth potential (its roster includes Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret).

“This decision is right for the future growth of our company but not easy because of the impact to our L Brands family,” L Brands CEO Leslie Wexner said in a statement. “I want to thank our Bendel associates for their dedication to this iconic brand and to our loyal Bendel customers.”

The news sent L Brands shares up by 4 percent, potentially signaling a turning point for the retailer, which has seen its stock tumble 55 percent year to date. (As of 1:30 p.m. ET, the stock was up nearly 5 percent to $28.80.) Bendel accounted for just $85 million of L Brands’ $12.6 billion revenue in 2017.

But while Wall Street reacted positively to the news, fans of the retailer have reason to feel sentimental.

In its heyday, Bendel, best known for its designer purses and footwear, was a New York retailer on par with stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

The store’s namesake founder was a women’s hatmaker from Louisiana who set up shop in New York in 1895. In 1913, Bendel was the first retailer to carry Coco Chanel in the United States, and in the 1960s, it hired Andy Warhol as an in-house illustrator.

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