Barneys For Sale
Luxury department store Barneys may be the next big brand seeking a buyer. The Dubai-based investment fund Istithmar World which bought the retailer less than two years ago is looking to sell. Bloomberg reports that Istithmar wants to sell for the same $942.3 million it paid in September of 2007. Of course things were a little different then and some say that it's ludicrous to expect the same price now. Luxury department stores have been suffering in recent months with both Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus reporting major sales declines and laying off workers.
Some say that Istithmar World is looking to raise ready cash and the state-owned fund is willing to sell its entire stake. Dubai's rapid real estate expansion and declining oil prices have put the country in deep debt.
Barneys has had a history of ups and downs. The store was founded by Barney Pressman in 1923. The Pressman family lost control in 1998 and the company flirted with bankruptcy.Jones Apparel Group Inc. for $294.3 million in 2004, a number that seems small considering what they were able to sell it for a few years later. Istithmar would have to hold on to the brand for a long time to get a similar return on its investment. The news comes just as Barneys has been in the news for creating window displays celebrating designer Isabel Toledo, the designer of Michelle Obama's inauguration outfit.