As the investigation into allegations of rape and sex trafficking against Peter Nygård continues, the company reopened its store at 1453 Broadway in Manhattan a couple days after investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department raided it and the company’s offices there.
Following the raid, Nygard said through a spokesman that he is stepping down as chairman of the Nygård Companies and will divest his ownership interest. Peter Nygård’s spokesman Ken Frydman declined comment when asked what the plan is for the New York store and Nygård’s successor.
Nygård has denied the allegations via his spokesman.
While Dillard’s said it is dropping the Nygård collection, Sears declined to comment when asked Thursday if the brand will continue to be carried.
Along with the allegations and Nygård’s numerous legal battles with hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon, executives at the company have the complicated task of keeping sales running when so much of its branding and imagery is tied to its namesake. Founded in 1976, Nygård remains a privately held company and is now run from its home office of Winnipeg, Canada. Over the years, the company expanded its portfolio with such labels as Peter Nygård, Nygård Slims, Bianca Nygård, Nygård Collection, TanJay, Alia, Allison Daley and private label offerings.
A call inquiring if Peter Nygård was still in the main office Thursday was directed by a Manitoba receptionist to vice president David Paton. He declined to comment about how the situation is affecting the company. Paton also declined to say how many employees currently work in the head office, deferring any comment to Frydman.
A receptionist at the company’s Winnipeg office indicated that Nygård’s daughters Alia and Bianca no longer work there. A phone call to Alia Nygård was not returned Thursday. Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman declined to comment Thursday about how the Nygård situation is affecting the community. Through a spokeswoman, he described the allegation against Nygård as “grotesque.” Should they be proven in court, Bowman vowed to rescind the key to the city that had been bestowed on Nygård by another mayor in 2008.
Back in the New York store, an employee, who declined to be identified, said she planned to keep the store open until 6 p.m. and she described traffic as normal. During a brief interview, a few shoppers momentarily stepped into the store and quickly leafed through a rack or two before exiting.
The Times Square building’s neon oversize “Nygård” signage and image of an arms-crossed Nygård are misleading. Aside from the Nygård store on the northwest corner of West 40th Street and Broadway, the company has given up most of its 30,000-square-foot space at 1435 Broadway. In an interview with WWD last year, Nygård had said he was looking to sublease some of that space, since the New York staff had decreased to 20 from 200 five years ago.
Accessories Direct signed a five-year sublease for five of the six floors six weeks ago, according to owner and chief executive officer Rody Moreira. The sixth floor, which was once an apartment, is now essentially a storage space for Nygård, he said. “They took everything that they had throughout the whole building and they condensed it into that apartment.”
Standing near the main-floor reception area Thursday, Moreira said, “We have no relations with Nygård. I have nothing to do with Peter Nygård. We started leasing through a leasing agency…I’m taking everything that used to be Nygård and am removing all of the logos. It will become Accessories Direct. It’s already happening.”
Moreiera said that when he arrived at the building Tuesday morning, there were 10 FBI agents and NYPD officers in the reception area.