Barneys, an icon of America’s luxury clothing world for decades, has filed for bankruptcy. The New York-based retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early Tuesday morning. It said in a statement that it had also secured $75 million from affiliates of Hilco Global and the Gordon Brothers Group to help meet its financial commitments.
“Like many in our industry, Barneys New York’s financial position has been dramatically impacted by the challenging retail environment and rent structures that are excessively high relative to market demand,” Barneys CEO Daniella Vitale said in a statement. The bankruptcy filing will allow the company “to conduct a sale process, review our current leases and optimize our operations,” she added.
The company said it will continue to operate five flagship locations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, as well as Barneys.com and BarneysWarehouse.com. However, it said it is shutting down stores in Chicago, Las Vegas and Seattle. The company is also shutting down five “concept stores” and seven of its nine Barneys Warehouse stores. The move was not unexpected. Reuters reported last month that filing for bankruptcy protection could help alleviate the pressure of expensive leases.
The company traces its history to 1923, according to its website, when Barney Pressman pawned his wife’s engagement ring. The company indicated he used the funds to open a discount clothing store. Barneys has several locations in the United States, but its headquarters and flagship store line the area around New York’s Fifth Avenue, which for months has been emptied of prominent luxury retailers as they flee high rents and shifting consumer tastes.
Barneys is just the latest traditional retailer to file for bankruptcy protection. Charlotte Russe filed for Chapter 11 in February. And in October, Sears — which was drowning in debt — filed for bankruptcy after 132 years.