NEW YORK — Major retailers will gather Nov. 22 at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church at 7 West 55th Street here to discuss such topics as racial profiling, loss prevention and store operations.
This story first appeared in the November 15, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The forum will be cohosted by the Retail Council of New York State and the New York Metropolitan Retailing Association. Retailers such as Macy’s Inc., Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus Group, Lord & Taylor, Saks Inc. and Bloomingale’s confirmed to WWD they are planning to send representatives to the meeting, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Barneys New York has worked closely with Rev. Al Sharpton, Marc Morial [chief executive officer of the National Urban League] and The Retail Council of New York State to make sure that all key retailers are represented at the Nov. 22 event, including personally inviting many of the attendees. The retail council meeting is an important first step to addressing a serious problem in our industry,” said Charlotte Blechman, executive vice president of marketing and communications at Barneys.
The meeting is a result of a few incidents of alleged racial profiling that have occurred at Macy’s and Barneys this year. Several black shoppers, who were stopped by the New York Police Department after making expensive purchases, have sued the retailers and the NYPD.
New York General Eric T. Schneiderman is investigating racial profiling at both Macy’s and Barneys and has received documents from both retailers and is actively interviewing witnesses.
Over the last several weeks, Sharpton, who founded the National Action Network, a civil rights organization, as well as officials from the National Urban League have met with Macy’s and Barneys’ officials to tackle these issues. After the meeting at Macy’s, the retailer issued a statement reiterating its stance against discrimination of any kind and that it holds its employees to a high standard in that regard in all aspects of the workplace.
Earlier this month, Barneys also released a statement which said, “Barneys New York is a strong proponent of equal rights and equal treatment for all human beings, and has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination.”
A spokeswoman for Neiman’s said Thursday of the upcoming meeting, “People are coming from New York and Dallas. We believe in the goals that they are trying to achieve.”