After plans to restore its brick-and-mortar presence were stalled by the coronavirus pandemic, Barneys New York is set to reopen in a couple Saks Fifth Avenue locations very soon.
Today at WWD’s Apparel and Retail Summit, Jamie Salter, CEO of Authentic Brands Group — the brand management firm that purchased Barneys out of bankruptcy last November — revealed that the high-end retailer will open at Saks’ flagship on New York’s famed Fifth Avenue and the Saks outpost in Greenwich, Conn. The shops will debut in the first quarter of 2021 — well over a year after Barneys filed for Chapter 11 protection and permanently shuttered its physical units.
“We would have liked to have it open by now,” Salter said in a conversation with WWD editorial director James Fallon. “Unfortunately, what happened with COVID-19 set us back a year.”
When it closed the deal to acquire the luxury department store’s intellectual property, ABG announced that it would transform Barneys’ nearly century-old home on Madison Avenue into a pop-up retail store, where it would house boutiques, art installations and cultural exhibits as well as host events and other entertainment.
“We’re going to be testing a bunch of concepts for the next 12 months,” Salter told FN in an interview last November. “If things go really well, we’ll take those concepts and use them around the globe. If we can make enough money driving traffic through that location with our pop-up stores and experiential [offerings], then we may take the space for longer than 12 months.”
At the time, ABG also entered into union with Saks: The Barneys name had been licensed to Saks and its parent, Hudson’s Bay Co., which intended to create private-label merchandise and build shop-in-shops within some Saks locations. As part of the transaction, Barneys was expected to reopen on the fifth floor of Saks’ then-newly renovated flagship this year in September. However, the global health crisis took hold early in 2020 — leading to government-imposed lockdowns and restrictions on nonessential businesses that forced the closures of millions of retailers around the world, including Saks.
Still, Salter remains optimistic on the future of Barneys. During the summit, he revealed that ABG is set to announce the details of a new “personal care and beauty deal” between Barneys and a partner company but did not disclose any names.
“We actually did a worldwide deal out of Korea that we’re going to announce early next week, [and] we’re very proud of [it],” he said. “We will be expanding our distribution… We have department stores in Japan today, and we will be expanding into China and Korea and EMEA (Europe-Middle East-Africa) over the next 24 months, and we’ll be opening our stores here in the United States in a partnership with Saks.”
Notably, in just the past few weeks alone, big box retailer Target announced a deal with beauty retailer Ulta and Kohl’s department store disclosed its new partnership with beauty juggernaut Sephora.