- Henri Bendel, the iconic luxury brand that has its flagship store on New York’s Fifth Avenue, is closing after 123 years in business.
- Henri Bendel is owned by L Brands, parent company of Victoria’s Secret, PINK, Bath & Body Works, and La Senza. L Brands announced on Friday that all 23 Henri Bendel stores are set to close in January, along with the brand’s website.
- We visited the flagship store on Fifth Avenue and saw how the store closing represents a new era of retail.
Henri Bendel, the iconic luxury brand that has its flagship store on New York’s Fifth Avenue, is closing after 123 years in business.
The brand was started by Henri Bendel in 1895, when he moved to New York and began making white-and-brown-striped bags and hat boxes that appealed to the city’s elite. Ninety years later, in 1985, Henri Bendel was acquired by L Brands.
Now, after 123 years in business, the retailer is closing its doors for good.
L Brands, which also owns Victoria’s Secret, PINK, Bath & Body Works, and La Senza, announced on Friday that it would be closing all 23 Henri Bendel stores, including its website and flagship store, to focus on its more profitable brands. The stores are set to close in January, but they will still have new merchandise for the holidays, according to a company press release.
“We are committed to improving performance in the business and increasing shareholder value. As part of that effort, we have decided to stop operating Bendel to improve company profitability and focus on our larger brands that have greater growth potential,” L Brands chairman and CEO Leslie Wexner said in a statement on Thursday.
“This decision is right for the future growth of our company, but not easy because of the impact to our L Brands family.”
The Henri Bendel flagship store is filled with handbags, sunglasses, wallets, jewellery, and other accessories, all elegantly displayed under big, beautiful chandeliers and surrounded by gold decor.
We visited the store in New York City the day after it announced it would be closing, and we found it was a vestige from a more glamorous era of retail. Here’s what it’s like:
The Henri Bendel flagship store is on Fifth Avenue, surrounded by other luxury retailers like Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Bvlgari.
The interior of the store was stunning.
The iconic brown and white stripes were everywhere, and elegant chandeliers were hanging all over the store. Almost everything was painted gold.
All of the displays were simple but eye-catching. The brand’s “Influencer” collection was on display at the front of the store.
There was also an Influencer shop within the store. It was set up similar to a department store.
The store carried sunglasses …
… perfume …
… and a ton of handbags. Most products cost over $US100.
Jewellery typically cost at least $US40, and even small accessories like keychains cost $US30.
There were some things you don’t typically see every day, like free monogramming of most products.
There was a long spiral staircase with gold railings leading up to the second floor.
Upstairs, the walls were decorated with vintage photos of NYC, and handbags lined the walls.
There was a small lounge area …
… and an area that overlooked the ground floor. The store was surprisingly busy when we visited mid-day.
The store felt very high-end — much more so than most department stores today.
Even though it will have new merchandise through the holiday season, Henri Bendel will be closing the flagship store and all other locations in January, signalling the end of an era for the retail industry.
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