Henri Bendel: Adrift Since the Beginning

In The Daily Scoop by Lauren Parker, Accessories Magazine

I considered myself ahead of the curve when last April I wrote “Victoria’s Secret: Behind the Curve.” Now, I consider myself behind the curve, so to speak. I should have written in that same article that Henri Bendel was even further behind the curve than VS. Recently, L Brands, headed by famed Les Wexner, and owner of both brands along with Bath & Body Works, La Senza and Pink, recently announced that it would close all 29 Henri Bendel stores and its website in January. Perhaps he should have read the Bendel’s curve differently and not have acquired it in the first place in 1985 for a little over $3 million.

Wexner stated his logic for the closures: “We have decided to stop operating Bendel to improve company profitability and focus on our larger brands that have greater growth potential.”

Henri Bendel was a blip on The Limited’s, and subsequently L Brands’ radar screen, bringing in sales last year of a mere $85 million out of L Brands’ total revenues of about $12 billion. And they were operating at a loss for at least the past two years. In fact, Henri Bendel never amounted to any more than a blip since Wexner acquired it. At the time, he was declaring it could become a billion-dollar brand. It never came close, estimated to have reached $100 million in sales at its peak. So, one could say the brand might have been “curving” into maturity from the day Wexner acquired it.

Read more at The Robin Report

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