Barneys New York store chain files for bankruptcy

Barneys store in ManhattanImage copyright
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Barneys has faced a steep rent hike at its flagship Manhattan store

US luxury department store chain Barneys New York has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and put itself on sale.

The firm has faced soaring rents and was unsuccessful in its earlier attempts to find a buyer.

Barneys has secured $75m (£61m) in new financing from Hilco Global and the Gordon Brothers Group to stay afloat.

It will close stores in Chicago, Las Vegas and Seattle, along with five smaller concept stores and seven Barneys Warehouse locations.

Barneys has faced a steep rise in rent at its Manhattan flagship store on Madison Avenue, New York, to $30m from $16m.

Chapter 11 postpones a US company’s obligations to its creditors, giving it time to reorganise its debts or sell parts of the business.

Chief executive Daniella Vitale said: “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.

“In response to these obstacles, the Barneys New York board and management team have taken decisive action by entering into a court-supervised process, which will provide the company the necessary tools to conduct a sale process, review our current leases and optimise our operations.”

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The interior of the original Barneys store in New York

The firm will keep open five flagship locations: Madison Avenue, Downtown NYC, Beverly Hills, San Francisco and Copley Place in Boston, as well as two Barneys Warehouse locations. It will also keep open its websites.

It says it expects to pay trade vendors, manufacturing partners and suppliers in full for goods and services provided.

The company was founded in 1923 when Barney Pressman pawned his wife’s engagement ring and used the cash to open a 500-square-feet men’s discount clothing store on Seventh Avenue and 17th Street in New York, with the slogan: “No Bunk, No Junk, No Imitations.”

In the 1960s his son Fred was responsible for the transition from discount store to luxury destination.