Henri Bendel is closing after 123 years in business
Parent company L Brands announced Thursday it’s closing Bendel’s website and all of its 23 stores, including the store’s iconic Fifth Avenue location in New York, in January 2019 because of sluggish sales.
The upscale brand, best known for its designer purses and shoes, was founded in 1895 by Henri Bendel. In 1913, the brand became one of the first luxury retailers to open a flagship store with an “upper FIfth Avenue address,” according to its website. L Brands acquired Bendel in 1985 and led its expansion into 11 states.
The decision comes after a conclusion that it essentially costs more to keep Bendel alive than to just pull the plug. A recent revenue report disclosed that the company is on track to make $85 million this year, but its operating losses would total around $45 million. This was not the outcome L Brands anticipated when it acquired Henri Bendel in 1985, predicting it’d turn into a $1 billion luxury business. The group has concluded that Bendel was standing in the way of its other growth opportunities. A $10.5 billion company, L Brands also owns Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, PINK, and more.
L Brands is having a difficult 2018 because of increased retail competition.
The stock is down 55% for the year, making it one of worst performing companies in the S&P 500 for the year