Cue the death knell…another retailer has succumbed.
After 123 years in business, luxury specialty chain Henri Bendel is shuttering its website and 23 stores across the nation, including the iconic Fifth Avenue flagship. The closings were announced by L Brands, Bendel’s parent company, and will occur January of 2019.
Sluggish sales and retail competition are to blame, and L Brands said it a statement that it is closing the retailer “to improve company profitability and focus on our larger brands that have greater growth potential,” which includes Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works. (With the high-profile success of Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie line, Victoria’s Secret has got to be running scared.)
While New Yorkers will surely mourn the flagship closing, which is not too far north of the closing Lord & Taylor flagship, the closing is but a blip for L Brands. According to reports, L Brands reported revenue of $12.6 billion in 2017, while Bendel’s 2018 sales were approximately $85 million.
Founded in 1895
Henri Bendel, known for its large assortment of designer accessories, from jewelry, handbags and shoes, was founded in 1895 by Henri Bendel. In 1913, it was one of the first luxury retailers to open a flagship store with an upper Fifth Avenue address. L Brands acquired Bendel in 1985 and led its expansion into 11 states.
Not long ago, Henri Bendel stopped buying designer brands wholesale, and started opening up all accessories stores, opting to build its own in-house brand almost exclusively among its stores. The store’s signature brown and white stripe factored in strongly. It slowly brought the brands back to the New York flagship, possibly as a bit of a Hail Mary to keep interest.
Sadly, it didn’t work.
All-accessories retail chain Charming Charlie, which was across the street from Lord & Taylor, also closed its Fifth Avenue flagship earlier this year, just proving how difficult fashion retail can be.