NEW YORK, United States – With the announcement, yesterday, that Barneys New York is updating two of its lower-priced Co-op stores, the high-end retailer continues the reinvention it began in 2010, when Mark Lee, former chief executive of Gucci, took over as CEO with a comprehensive plan to take the iconic department store into a profitable future.
After closing several Barneys Co-op stores across the US, including units in Dallas and San Diego, Barneys is rebranding some of its remaining Co-op locations as simply Barneys New York.
Two of these locations, in Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Los Angeles’ The Grove, will undergo renovations and relaunch this summer with an offering of only women’s clothing and accessories, indicating the increased importance of womenswear to the store’s overall business.
The rebranded stores will continue to stock the labels previously sold at Barneys Co-op stores — accessibly priced brands geared at a younger customer — along with an edit of designer and luxury labels, an integrated approach that’s already reflected on the retailer’s e-commerce site, which seamlessly blends Co-op and designer offerings.
The decision to house high fashion and casual-wear under the same roof, dispensing with dedicated Co-op units, seems to reflect the changed behaviour of today’s consumers, who liberally shop across traditional divisions between designer and contemporary lines.
Last year, Neiman Marcus seemed to follow a similar rationale — that the designer shopper and the contemporary shopper can no longer be considered distinct customers — when it opened its own lower-priced concept, Cusp, inside all of its 42 locations. Unlike Barneys Co-op, however, Neiman Marcus continues to run standalone Cusp locations in various states.