And then there were two.
Barneys New York on Wednesday confirmed that Feb. 18 will be the last day of operation for its store at 2151 Broadway between 75th and 76th Streets on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Once the unit is closed, the retailer’s Manhattan store count will drop to two, including the flagship at 660 Madison Avenue and a downtown location at 101 Seventh Avenue. There’s a store in Brooklyn at 194 Atlantic Avenue.
It’s a drastic change from a decade ago, when Barneys opened four new flagships and operated 15 Co-ops. The retailer’s successive leaders have pruned the fleet over the years.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman confirmed that Barneys’ Seattle flagship at 600 Pine Street has been temporarily closed since Christmas Eve due to a grease spill at a restaurant above the store. “Due to an unfortunate circumstance, we are unable to open for safety reasons,” a sign taped to a door said. “We apologize for the inconvenience. We hope to reopen soon.” The store is expected to open in the next couple of months, the spokeswoman said.
“Barneys New York has enjoyed serving the community on the Upper West Side for over a decade,” the retailer said on Wednesday. “We sincerely appreciate the loyalty of our customers and we look forward to continuing to serve them at our Madison Avenue and downtown Seventh Avenue, and Brooklyn locations.”
Vitale did not respond to questions about employees and inventory at the Upper West Side unit.
The 10,420-square-foot Upper West Side store in 2013 was converted from a Co-op unit, and remodeled and rebranded. Men’s merchandise was eliminated to make room for expanded offerings and new designers in the women’s category.
Former Barneys chairman and ceo Howard Socol aggressively expanded the network of Co-ops, opening 15 new units during his tenure. However, Mark Lee, who became ceo of Barneys in 2010, didn’t have much enthusiasm for the lower-priced units and converted them to small facsimiles of full-line stores, as with the Upper West Side unit, or shuttered them.
“We’re retiring the Co-op name,” Lee said in 2013. “All existing Co-ops will be re-branded as smaller Barneys New York units.”
“These are neighborhood stores,” Vitale said then, echoing her sentiments on Wednesday. She added that some labels were exclusive to the chain, and all were bought with specific locations in mind. “We’ll try to curate the stores to reflect the demographics of the area. This is a local customer in the immediate trading area.”
“Lower prices was the intention when the Co-op began years ago,” Lee added at the time. “The Co-op offered the spirit of Barneys style at a lower price before contemporary and secondary collections existed. With everything we’re doing, it’s more about the edit now. It’s about how we curate these small specialty stores.”
The Upper West Side store had been merchandised to facilitate wardrobing. That, and the addition of higher-priced resources would allow the unit to reach a higher average ticket. This was based on the fact that the Upper West Side and The Grove stores in Los Angeles were the two top-performers under the Co-op concept and the two biggest producers of bottom-line profits. But that scenario didn’t take hold, at least not in the case of the Upper West Side unit.
Besides doing such strong sales, the Upper West Side store was pivotal in other ways, setting the tone for the other renovations with upgraded materials such as terazzo tile floors and polished steel fixtures, a big departure from the industrial look of Co-op stores with exposed pipes on ceilings and exposed brick walls.