I could barely believe my eyes when I read Eric Wilson’s article on New York City’s legendary Henri Bendel in the Style Section of The New York Times.
Wilson announced that Bendel’s is planning to stop selling clothing this summer so that the retailer can focus on accessories and beauty. They already have the key ground floor space, along with space on some of their other floors, devoted to handbags, gift, fragrances, jewelry, accessories, and makeup.
In addition to this massive change, the flagship Bendel’s – which is located on a covetable block at 712 Fifth Avenue – will also reduce its size from three to two selling floors.
The accessories, handbags, jewelry, gifts, beauty and fragrance sold in the store are both from third-party vendors as well as from their own private label (most of which have the retailer’s signature brown and white stripe motive). Famed hair salon Frédérick Fekkai will stay put on Bendel’s fourth floor. The Chocolate Bar may not be so lucky as its fade is yet to be decided.
The reasons cited for getting rid of the clothing sections of the store (which notably does not sell footwear), was that there were was “no sign of a turnaround in the sale of high-ticket items, but that beauty and gift products were selling well and typically with much higher margins.”
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.