Barneys New York
|Headquarters||New York, New York, 5th Ave.|
|Number of locations||40+|
|Products||Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, and housewares.|
Barneys New York is an American chain of luxury department stores headquartered in New York City. The chain owns flagship stores in New York City, Beverly Hills, and Chicago, all of which have restaurants operated by third parties. Smaller stores can be found in other locations across the United States.
Pressman family ownership
The company began in 1923, when Barney Pressman opened his first store in Manhattan with $500 raised by pawning his wife's engagement ring in order to lease a 500-square-foot (46 m2) space at Seventh Avenue and West 17th Street in Manhattan with 20 ft (6 m) of frontage. Barney's Clothes was stocked with 40 brand name suits and a big sign with a slogan, "No Bunk, No Junk, No Imitations." Barney's sold clothing at discounted prices by purchasing showroom samples, retail overstocks, and manufacturers' closeouts at auctions and bankruptcy sales. It also offered free alterations and free parking to attract customers.
Barney Pressman claimed to be the first Manhattan retailer to use radio and television, beginning with "Calling All Men to Barney's" radio spots in the 1930s that parodied the introduction of the Dick Tracy show. He sponsored radio programs featuring Irish tenors and bands playing jigs to advertise Irish woolens. Women encased in barrels gave away matchbooks with the store name and address. He also chartered a boat to take 2,000 of his customers from Manhattan to Coney Island.
In a 1973 interview with Business Week, Fred Pressman became "convinced that the discount route definitely was not for us. My father and I have always hated cheap goods.... I didn't want to sell low-end merchandise. Now, many of those who chose to are verging on bankruptcy." Fred Pressman's New York Times obituary stated:
- With his father's blessing, Fred Pressman slowly transformed the store from a salty discount house that sold roast beef sandwiches in its pub to a purveyor of Italian designers with a cafe serving Perrier and light salads. He began to discard the types of suits that his father was prone to unearthing at auctions and bankruptcy sales, peppering the racks instead with then-obscure and top-name designers both, but continued to offer touches like free alterations that gave Barneys its reputation.
Pressman is quoted saying, “The best value you can offer a customer is personal attention to every detail, and they will return again and again. Ultimately, the customer cares the most about how he or she is treated." Pressman died in July 1996.
In 1970, Barney's built a fifth story onto their original building and a five-story addition. The original store was renamed America House and the addition was named International House. The expanded store occupied the entire Seventh Avenue block (between 16th and 17th streets), with 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of selling space and 20 individual shops.
International House, Fred Pressman promised, would feature complete collections of European designers, "from denim pants to $250 suits," not just a watered-down "potpourri of fabrics and models." The renovated America House, he said, would hold merchandise from "manufacturers who are in effect designers."
By 1973, the store was stocking 60,000 suits. It carried the full lines of designers such as Bill Blass, Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, and Hubert de Givenchy. It became the first clothing store in the U.S. to stock the full line of Giorgio Armani, after signing an agreement in 1976. Barneys is widely credited to have introduced Giorgio Armani to the American public.
Women's clothing was introduced in 1976 on the third floor of the International House. The next year, the women's store relocated to The Penthouse, a new top-level enclosure. Barney's also added housewares, cosmetics, and gift departments to the store. Also in 1977, Barney's in-store restaurant was renamed The Cafe and began selling salads, soup and sandwiches.
The apostrophe in Barney's was dropped in 1981. In 1981, the women's penthouse became a duplex. Barneys imported 80% of the women's and 40% of the men's merchandise. The $25 million, 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2) women's store finally opened in 1986 in a row of six townhouses and two larger adjacent buildings across the store along 17th Street. The addition included a unisex beauty salon and restaurant, antiques, and accessories, gifts, and housewares departments. It accounted for about one-third of Barneys' sales of some $90 million the following year.
In 1988, Barneys opened a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) men's store in the World Financial Center. In 1993, the store moved to the current 230,000-square-foot (21,000 m2), 9-story Manhattan store on Madison Avenue at East 61st streets. It was the largest new store in New York City since the Great Depression. The store is a 22-story building with 14 floors of offices above the store. The wood floors, a marble mosaic on the lobby floor, gold-leaf ceilings, and lacquered walls of the new Barneys store cost $267 million, according to one source.
Barney’s opened its first store outside of Manhattan in Chicago, Illinois, in 1993, closely followed by another large store in Beverly Hills, California, in 1994. During this time, they also announced a national expansion of 30 smaller stores that range around 6,500 square feet
The company filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 1996, closed most of their boutique stores (including locations in Dallas and Houston, Costa Mesa, Cleveland, Short Hills, and Manhasset), and sold the department stores in Japan and Singapore. On December 20, 2004, the Pressman family sold its less than 2% remaining ownership to the Jones Apparel Group, which in turn sold the company in September 2007 to Dubai-based private equity firm Istithmar PJSC for $937.4 million. Included in this purchase is an estimated $500 million in debt. "The luxury market took a sharp turn for the worse after Istithmar's acquisition of Barneys. U.S. sales of high end clothing, fragrances and accessories slipped 14% in 2009, according to Bain & Co. Although luxury was a star performer over the 2010 holiday season, spending trends have yet to recover to pre-recessionary levels. The privately held company doesn't reveal financial results but said that EBITDA rose by $30 million in 2010."
Howard Socol, Barneys' former CEO, resigned shortly after the change in ownership. The company failed to fill the position for over two years until Mark Lee was appointed in September 2010. Lee is the former chief executive of Gucci Group and has consulted and sat on the board of many other fashion companies. Since Lee’s appointment, Barney’s has experienced changes in its staff, advertising, and website. Amanda Brooks, former creative director of Hogan, replaced long time fashion director, Julie Gilhart. Lee’s former Gucci colleague, Daniella Vitale, replaced Judy Collinson as head merchant. Former creative director Simon Doonan, now creative ambassador-at-large, was replaced by Dennis Freedman.
Barney’s advertisements and catalogs are usually shot in-house, but for Spring 2011 candid shots by art photographers such as William Klein, Nan Goldin and Juergen Teller were taken behind-the-scenes during Fashion Week. Some existing stores will face new renovations such as the in Madison Avenue location’s main floor and Co-Op levels. The traditional red awnings have been changed to black. Barneys' website has been revamped and has launched a new site called “The Window” which is the retailer's primary "social media landing page"—a window into the Barneys world, with news about fashion and happenings at Barneys stores.
As of February 2011, Barneys no longer sells Prada with the exception of shoes and menswear because of disagreements concerning prices and inventory control. Prada wanted to lease a space, but control its own inventory and markdowns under a concession model. Barneys declined.
Perry Capital ownership
In May 2012, the majority of it was acquired by Perry Capital which reduced the company's $590 million debt to $50 million. It will have three seats on the seven-member board. The former majority owner Istithmar World as well as new investor Yucaipa Cos will also be on the board as will current CEO Mark Lee.
Barneys New York flagship and regional stores
Barneys started opening locations outside of Manhattan around 1988. The first store outside the U.S. opened in Tokyo in late 1990.
- Beverly Hills - Wilshire Boulevard (120,000 square feet, opened 1994)
- Los Angeles - The Grove at Farmer's Market (9,266 square feet, converted from a Barneys CO-OP in August 2013)
- San Francisco - Union Square (65,000 square feet, opened 2007)
- New York City - Madison Avenue (275,000 square feet - opened 1993)
- New York City - Upper West Side (10,420 square feet - converted from a Barneys CO-OP in July 2013)
- Philadelphia - Rittenhouse Square (Converting from a Barneys CO-OP in 2014)
Barneys also has five department stores in Japan: two in Tokyo (located in Ginza and Shinjuku), one in Yokohama, one in Kobe, and one in Fukuoka which opened in Fall, 2011. There are also a number of outlet stores throughout Japan. These stores are operated under license by the Sumitomo Corporation. Despite a report in September, 2006, from The Financial Times stating that Barneys New York would open its first European location in London, Barney's has yet to expand beyond the United States and Japan.
Barneys outlet stores
- Cabazon - Desert Hills Premium Outlets
- Napa Valley
- Sunrise - Sawgrass Mills
- Rosemont (Opened August, 2013)
- Central Valley
- Niagara Falls
- San Marcos - Prime Outlets at San Marcos
The Barneys New York CO-OP is a smaller, more compact version of a traditional Barneys store, featuring an edited assortment of contemporary brands for men and women and averaging 8,000 square feet (740 m2). The CO-OP concept originally began as a department within the Barneys New York stores, and soon became their own freestanding concepts in the early 2000s. After growing to more than 20 locations throughout the US, Barneys has begun closing their CO-OP stores or converting them to smaller Barneys New York boutiques, with plans to eventually phase out the CO-OP label. CO-OP stores have been closed across the country, including in Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, and Texas.
- Miami Beach - Collins Avenue
- Georgetown, Washington D.C.
- Hackensack - The Shops at Riverside
- Philadelphia - Rittenhouse Square (Converting to a Barneys New York store in 2014)
The forthcoming opening of the Brooklyn, New York location has raised some concerns among members of the Park Slope Food Coop there regarding the use of the term "co-op" by a for-profit corporation. According to the general manager of the Food Coop, Barneys' use of the term is a violation of the New York State Cooperative Corporations Law.
Barneys has been repeatedly accused of racially profiling its customers throughout the years. In 1996, Johnnie Roberts, a journalist for Newsweek, published an account of an incident taking place in the spring of 1990 in which he was mistakenly accused of shoplifting because of being an African American.
In 2013, Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old African American, purchased a $350 Ferragamo belt and was arrested shortly after leaving the store. The police had received a call from the store claiming that the debit card used was fraudulent even though the customer provided proper identification at the time of the purchase. The officers questioned Trayon on how he was able to afford the purchased belt and accused him of using a fraudulent card. He was handcuffed, detained in a holding cell for two hours and interrogated further. He was later released after the police contacted Chase Bank to verify ownership of the card.
Another African American shopper, Kayla Phillips, has also come forward with a similar claim after she purchased a $2,500 Céline handbag with her debit card. Both shoppers believe they were targeted because of their race after they purchased costly items and have stated they intend on filing discrimination lawsuits against the store.
As a result of these high-profile cases, Al Sharpton has threatened to boycott the store and has compared its racial profiling to the "Stop-and-Frisk" policy practiced by the NYPD, a practice that was later deemed unconstitutional by a US District Court. Fans have also petitioned Jay-Z to sever his ties and partnership with the retailer.
In popular culture
Barneys has long been known for an elitist attitude, expensive prices, and very unconventional clothing. On an episode of Friends, Phoebe, Ross, and Rachel are shown shopping at the New York City location. Phoebe mocks the environment of the store and declares, "This place is awesome. Everyone is so mean." Ross says he isn't going to wear anything with silver, hair, or padlocks on it.
During the season 1 episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm", entitled Ted and Mary, "Larry David" is shown to be shopping at a Barneys store in California with Mary and her mother. Larry gets into a confrontation with the Shoe salesman and tries to return a jacket without Mary knowing.
- "Barney's Fred Pressman, 73". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- "Barney's Fred Pressman, 73". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- "Company News; Barneys to Open California Store". The New York Times. 8 June 1989. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- Jones New York 2007 Annual Report
- Dodes, Rachel (5 February 2011). "Barneys, Prada in Tussle". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- Dodes, Rachel (24 August 2010). "Barneys Brings in Gucci Veteran". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 26 January 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- Akhtar, Amina. "Amanda Brooks Named Fashion Director of Barneys New York". FashionEtc. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- Akhtar, Amina. "Simon Doonan Out as Creative Director of Barneys New York". FashionEtc. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- Dodes, Rachel (5 February 2011). "Barneys, Prad in Tussle". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- Horyn, Cathy (4 February 2011). "Barney's New Chief Explains Those Changes". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- "Two new board members".[dead link]
- Stephen Brown, "Is the Barneys Co-op breaking the law — with its name?" The Brooklyn Paper, April 15, 2010
- Kim Bhasin, "Barneys' Racial Profiling Problem Stretches Back At Least 20 Years" Huffington Post, October 25, 2013.
- "Student sues Barneys department store, NYPD, alleges racial profiling" CNN, October 25, 2013.
- "Barneys, NYPD under fire for alleged racial profiling" CBS News, October 25, 2013.
- "Macy's joins Barneys in brewing NYC 'shop-and-frisk' scandal" Reuters, October 26, 2013.
- "Jay Z's Barneys collection protested after racial profiling claims" Los Angeles Times, October 25, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barneys New York.|
- Jones Apparel Group official website
- Official website
- Barneys New York on Twitter
- Barneys CO-OP official website
- Barneys New York & Barneys CO-OP Flagship Stores