Barneys New York Will Focus on Building Digital Business in Its Bankruptcy

Barneys New York, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, may finally be getting serious about its digital business.

The company’s chief digital and technology officer, Katherine Bahamonde Monasebian, said in an interview with Bloomberg News last week that the company—which has historically prioritized brick-and-mortar over e-commerce—now has a “clear, crystallized vision” for its future. This, assuming its current bankruptcy results in a true restructuring, not a shuttering.

“We have a very tight timeline to come out of this chapter,” Monasebian said. “Our intention that we’re setting is to come out of this with a very strong digitally focused partner and emerge on the other side and really be able to—with a healthier balance sheet and operating structure—implement the vision of the company.”

Barneys’ digital lead shared that future plans include “a more intentional push into food, entertainment, and experiences,” and ultimately, “becoming more operationally efficient, service oriented, and shifting from a product culture to a people culture, which involves a retooling from the top of the organization to the bottom.”

She added that Barneys New York’s Manhattan flagship store, despite its reported $30 million in annual rent, is “actually profitable.”

When Barneys filed for Chapter 11 on Aug. 5 in Southern District of New York federal court, the company announced that it was looking for a buyer and that it planned to close 15 of its 22 stores. Full-price stores being closed are Chicago, Las Vegas, and Seattle, along with five smaller concept stores and seven Barneys Warehouse locations.

The flagships slated to remain are in New York City (one uptown and one downtown); Beverly Hills, Calif.; San Francisco; and Boston. Two Barneys Warehouse locations will also remain open—in Central Valley, N.Y., and Livermore, Calif.

Barneys employs around 2,300 people, including 200 part-timers.

Top: A Barneys New York storefront (photo courtesy of Barneys New York)

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JCK Magazine Editor