Is Barneys New York’s Historic Flagship Downsizing?

Barneys New York has dismissed recent reports suggesting that it intends to downsize more than half of its flagship store in Manhattan.

In a statement to FN, the luxury department store denied last week’s story in the New York Post that claimed it was looking to reduce its physical footprint by parting with more than half of its Madison Avenue location. The media outlet added that Barneys was in talks to shed as many as five of its nine floors to cut down on its annual rent of $30 million.

“Barneys New York is committed to maintaining the footprint of its Madison Avenue flagship and continuing to serve its customers within this iconic store,” a company spokesperson wrote via email. “There are no active conversations regarding the store’s footprint, and all statements indicating otherwise are false.”

Chatter about the high-end retailer’s purported sell-off comes as skyrocketing Manhattan rents, the rise of e-commerce and changing consumer demands are forcing anchor retailers out of the country’s fashion capital.

Last week, Tommy Hilfiger announced that it would shutter its four-story, 22,000-square-foot global flagship on Fifth Avenue, only a couple months after fellow PVH Corp. brand Calvin Klein bid farewell to its longtime store on the famed shopping street. In addition, Gap, Polo and Henri Bendel have also closed flagships in the city, as well as Lord & Taylor, whose historic 11-story home on an entire Manhattan block on Fifth Avenue shut its doors late last year. (Although not its flagship, Saks Fifth Avenue also dimmed the lights in its women’s store at Brookfield Place after just two years in business.)

To combat the retail headwinds, Barneys has continued to launch new initiatives.

Just before the 2018 holiday season, the department store unveiled a newly revamped kids’ floor that featured an expanded assortment of top-tier clothing and accessories for babies and children, including a shoe department that stocked brands from Common Projects to Gucci and Vans.

Barneys also continues to offer experiential retail opportunities through The Drop program, which brings together art installations, panel discussions, designer appearances, exclusive product capsules and surprise musical performances within department store doors.

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