Today's Fashion Headlines. October 9, 2012

Barneys Quits Texas
Barneys New York is hanging up its spurs in Texas. The luxury chain is closing its struggling store in Dallas in April to focus on better-performing locations in cities such as New York and Los Angeles. “After careful consideration, Barneys New York has exercised its contractual right to terminate the lease for its Dallas location prior to its expiration,” a spokesperson said. Retail insiders said there wasn’t much to consider, as the Dallas store was among Barneys’ biggest losers following an ill-advised expansion under the retailer’s previous owner, Istithmar. Retail experts had been skeptical of the Dallas store’s prospects since Barneys opened it in fall 2006, at the height of the luxury boom. Some had questioned whether Barneys’ edgy image would attract many customers in Dallas, where shoppers’ tastes run to the conservative side. The Dallas lease had been set to expire in four years, according to a person close to the situation.
But the bigger problem may have been that the store was opened in the hometown of much larger rival Neiman Marcus, which operates two prominent stores in Dallas. “They opened just a few hundred feet away from one of Neiman’s biggest, busiest stores,” said one retail source, referring to the Barneys location at Northpark Mall in Dallas. “They never stood a chance.”
Gap Takes the Subways
Gap began advertising on New York City’s MetroCards on Monday to promote its remodeled flagship on Broadway and 34th Street, which reopens Wednesday. The card reads “Be Bright NYC” on the back, offers a 20 percent discount on regular-priced items through Nov. 18, but not third-party brands. The Gap MetroCards are available at booths and MetroCard vending machines at 10 stations around Grand Central, Herald Square, Union Square, Penn Station, Columbus Circle, and on Lexington Avenue at 53rd, 59th and 86th Streets.
“Because the MTA MetroCard is an iconic element of every New Yorker’s life, it felt like an appropriate vehicle to promote the opening of our newly remodeled flagship store,” a spokeswoman said. She said the remodeled flagship is downsized and follows the same format as the majority of the fleet but tests some new ideas. “One of the biggest changes you’ll see is the storefront.” Inside, “each division — men’s, women’s, baby, kids and body — has its own distinct moment within the store, defined by things like architectural details and unique fixtures.” The store also has multimedia screens for marketing.
The Body Shop is Not for Sale
L’Oréal issued a statement Monday denying British press reports that it is considering selling The Body Shop. The U.K.’s Mail on Sunday had quoted Mark Constantine, the founder of Lush Cosmetics, as saying that L’Oréal planned to sell The Body Shop as the firm “doesn’t fit L’Oréal’s profit profile.” The article noted that Constantine had spoken to a Body Shop “source,” and reported that Constantine, whose company makes natural cosmetics similar to those produced by The Body Shop, had once been interested in acquiring the firm.
In Monday’s statement, a spokeswoman for L’Oréal countered: “There is absolutely no truth in the rumor that L’Oréal intends to sell The Body Shop. In an interview with the Financial Times on September 27, 2012, Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and ceo [of] L’Oréal, explicitly denied any intention to sell and added that ‘The Body Shop is the kind of treasure that we are very happy to have.’”
– Taneisha Jordan
Sources: WWD; NY Post
Photo: WWD

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