Henri Bendel To Stop Selling Clothing
New York department store Henri Bendel has a new way to deal with the economy. The store, which is part of Limited Brands, will stop selling clothing, switching focus to accessories and beauty products. With less merchandise the Fifth Avenue store will need less room and so it will give up one of its three floors. Around 20 people will be laid off in the transition.
Beauty and small gift products are still selling well or at least better than expensive clothing as more people "shop their closets" rather than heading to the stores. Limited is trying to get the most out of the Bendel brand, Years ago they came out with a line of Bendel-branded perfumes sold through their Bath & Bodyworks stores. That line has been discontinued but Bath & Bodyworks still sells Henri Bendel candles.
The NY Times says that a "more mall-like chain" of smaller stores selling Bendel-branded beauty and gift items is planned with six accessories-only stores set to open in shopping centers this year. It seems a terrible dilution of an esteemed brand which began over 100 years ago, rendering it a meaningless name.