Fred Pressman

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Fred Pressman
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Barney's New York
DiedJuly 14, 1996 (age 73)
EducationB.A. Rutgers University
OccupationRetail executive
Known forChairman of Barneys New York
Spouse(s)Phyllis Pressman
Parent(s)Barbara and Barney Pressman
FamilyLouise Sunshine (niece)

Fred Pressman (1923 – July 14, 1996) was the chairman of Barneys New York. He assumed the role after taking over from his father, Barney Pressman. Under Fred Pressman's leadership, the store changed from being a discount men's suit shop to a luxury department store showcasing designer fashion.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Pressman was born in New York City, the son of Barbara and Barney Pressman.[2] His father founded Barneys, a clothing store that focused on selling name brand suits at a deep discount to the working class by purchasing inventory at auctions, bankruptcies, and in odd lots.[2][3][4][5] He attended Rutgers University before enlisting in the US Army.[1] In 1946, he joined the family business where he excelled at finding quality goods that he could purchase for a discount and sell using innovative marketing.[1]


In the late 1950s, he became chairman of the company and slowly transitioned it from a discount retailer and instead replaced the inventory with top-name designers from Europe that were relatively unknown in the United States.[1] He also added women's clothing, housewares, cosmetics and gifts.[1] He was credited with introducing Giorgio Armani to the American market in 1976 as well as one of the first American retailers to sell Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Cardin products.[1]

In the 1970s, his sons, Gene and Bob, joined the business.[1] In the late 1980s, Barneys entered into a partnership with the Japanese retailer Isetan to expand the Barneys name internationally.[1] In January 1996, Barneys filed for bankruptcy protection after a dispute with its Japanese lender.[6]

Barneys New York flagship store

Personal life[edit]

Pressman was married to Phyllis Pressman; they had four children:[1] Bob Pressman, Gene Pressman, Elizabeth Pressman-Neubardt,[7] and Nancy Pressman-Dressler.[6][1] His niece, Louise Sunshine, is the co-founder of the real estate marketing and sales company Sunshine Group.[8][9]

Death and legacy[edit]

Pressman died on July 14, 1996 at his home in Harrison, New York at the age of 73 of pancreatic cancer.[1] Services were held at the Central Synagogue in Manhattan.[10]

The Fred Pressman Summer Youth Program invites high school students to intern and attend seminars in business etiquette, customer service, resume writing, and interviewing.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k STEINHAUER, JENNIFER (July 15, 1996). "Fred Pressman, Who Elevated Barneys New York, Dies at 73". New York Times.
  2. ^ a b Barney Pressman, Retailing Legend, Is Dead at 96 New York Times, STEPHANIE STROM, August 27, 1991
  3. ^ Los Angeles Magazine: "Barneys in Rubble" by Jesse Kornbluth March 1996
  4. ^ New York Observer: "Real Goatskin and Lotsa Gas: The Pressman Saga Unzipped" By Francine Prose March 22, 1999
  5. ^ Orlando Sun Sentinel: "A Tale Of Wolves Swaddled In Sheep's Clothing" By L.A. LOREK May 16, 1999
  6. ^ a b New York Post: "PRESSMANS MAKE WAR ON THEMSELVES OVER $" By Allyson Lieberman August 13, 1999
  7. ^ New York Times: "Miss Pressman Becomes Bride" August 27, 1989
  8. ^ New York Times: "Louise Sunshine, Martin S. Begun" February 16, 1997
  9. ^ The Real Deal: "Louise Sunshine" By Lauren Elkies retrieved September 27, 2015
  10. ^ New York Daily News: "BARNEYS ELDER DIES" by Lawrence Goodman, Corky Siemaszko, and Orla Healy July 15, 1996
  11. ^ Greta Braddock, A Summer Of Opportunity For Tomorrow’s Superstars The Window August 18, 2014