Done Deal: Barneys sold to Authentic Brands Group; NYC flagship to evolve to pop-up 

Marianne Wilson
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There was no last-minute white knight for beleaguered luxury retailer Barneys New York.

Authentic Brands Group announced it has completed the purchase of the intellectual property of Barneys New York. The sale price was $271.4 million. The bankruptcy court had approved the sale the previous day, Oct. 31. But Barneys and its supporters held out some hope, as the court gave a window of 10:00 a.m. Friday for other viable bids to come in. None were forthcoming.

In a statement, ABG, a licensing firm with a diverse retail portfolio,  said it is committed to “preserving the legacy of Barneys New York while positioning it for long term growth through key partnerships that will expand its global presence as a lifestyle brand and luxury retail experience.”   

With the sale, one of Manhattan’s most signature stores, the Barneys flagship on Madison Ave., will evolve into what ABG called “a pop-up retail experience, bringing together an eclectic curation of boutiques, art and cultural installations and exhibits, and entertainment that fosters creativity and community.”

In addition, ABG said it is joining forces with Saks Fifth Avenue, which will serve  as the exclusive Barneys retail and eCommerce partner, for both and, in the U.S. and Canada. The first order of business will be to open an in-store “Barneys New York at Saks” shop on the fifth floor of Saks’ Manhattan flagship. The retailer is also planning to launch Barneys shop-in-shops in key Saks markets in the U.S. and Canada. 

ABG also said it will leverage its international scale, marketing expertise and network of best-in-class partners to grow Barneys New York’s global presence across retail, including pop-ups, shop-in-shops, eCommerce, and a new freestanding store in a key U.S. market. (Barneys is among the tenants listed to open in the massive American Dream retail and entertainment center in East Rutherford, N.J.)

“Its initial focus will be on high-fashion collaborations, branded namesake products, and expanding international retail in both brick and mortar and e-commerce,” Authentic Brands stated.

There is also a strategy in development for Barneys’ popular in-house restaurant, Freds, to expand to luxury destinations around the world. 

Authentic Brands noted that the acquisition will maintain the current licensing agreement between Barneys New York and Seven & i Holdings, which operates 12 Barneys New York retail stores in Japan. The Japan stores will continue operations as usual.

Kith-investor and fashion trade show executive Sam Ben-Avraham, who Barneys management and some others believed was Barneys’ best hope to remain alive as a going concern, posted the news on Friday morning via Instagram that he would not be putting forth a bid. 

“After two months of working around the clock, my team and I had to make the hardest decision we could have imagined: to pull out of the race and not go to court this morning,” he wrote on @SaveBarneys.