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Barneys Set to Launch Asian Operation

NEW YORK -- Barneys New York, which in six months opened two major U.S. stores, now plans ambitious growth in Asia through licensing agreements, industry sources said Monday.<BR><BR>Unlike the U.S expansion, Barneys won't incur significant expenses....

NEW YORK — Barneys New York, which in six months opened two major U.S. stores, now plans ambitious growth in Asia through licensing agreements, industry sources said Monday.

Unlike the U.S expansion, Barneys won’t incur significant expenses. Instead, it could collect fees through licensing by lending its name and merchandise expertise to the projects.

Sources said the Pressman family, which owns Barneys, envisions a fleet of 10 licensed stores in the Far East with a combined volume of $300 million to $400 million by the year 2000.

The company has been negotiating with a new retail partner from Korea, whose identity could not immediately be learned. Barneys will reportedly open at least two stores in Korea. Locations in

Seoul are being considered. Sources said Korean officials have met with Barneys executives here.

In addition, Barneys’ current licensed partner in Asia and equity partner in the U.S., Isetan Co., the giant Japanese conglomerate, has sent executives to scout sites in China, Thailand and Malaysia. Barneys now has two stores in Japan, in Tokyo and Yokohama, and one in Singapore, all licensed to Isetan.

Barneys executives declined comment Monday.

In the Far East, Barneys is seeking 80,000-square-foot sites.

In another development, there was more news about Barneys downsizing of its original flagship. As reported, Barneys plans to reduce the size of its store on Seventh Avenue and 17th Street from 170,000 square feet to 120,000 square feet by eliminating much of its men’s wear space. The 50,000 square feet of space, which is owned by a real estate developer, will be leased or sold to another retailer and is already being marketed.

In other news, Barneys plans to open its second outlet store, a 10,000-square-foot unit in Potomac Mills, a huge outlet center in Virginia. The chain currently operates an outlet in Woodbury Common, in Central Valley, N.Y.

Barneys opened its 220,000-square-foot Madison Avenue flagship last September, at a cost of $185 million. The 17-unit chain has grown rapidly in the U.S., with the aid of Isetan, its partner since 1988. A West Coast flagship opened March 5 in Los Angeles. The 120,000-square-foot unit cost $50 million to build.

Barneys’ sales in Asia are reportedly at about $100 million.

Worldwide, its volume is projected at more than $400 million for the year ended July 1994, with domestic sales at $327 million. Last year, domestic sales were $178 million.

EBITA is projected at $33 million for the year ended July 1994, against $19 million a year ago. Net earnings are projected at $11 million in 1994 versus $5 million.

For the five months ended Jan. 2, Barneys’ earnings rose to $5.9 million from $2.8 million. Sales for the period rose 70 percent, to $150 million. Through January, volume was $174 million. The figures were recently made public to offset rumors that the chain was cash-strapped.