From shocking store closings, to powerful acquisitions, it’s been quite a year in the retail and fashion worlds. During a year when major brands closed up shop one liquidation sale at a time, it’s safe to say we’re still living in the uncertain times of a retail apocalypse.
Here are some of the most dramatic retail headlines of 2019.
Lord & Taylor’s Fifth Avenue Flagship Shuts Down
After a storied 100-year run on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor kicked off 2019 by closing its flagship store on January 2. The move wasn’t surprising; in its last days, the once 11-story store had been reduced to just one floor, and a liquidation sale in October made a significant dent in remaining product. Not long after, Hudson’s Bay Co. sold Lord & Taylor.
Barneys New York Goes Bankrupt
Barneys – another New York institution for decades – is no longer a Madison Avenue staple. At least, it won’t be very soon, when the last of its liquidated merchandise is sold. In the face of heightened competition and lack of financing, Barneys New York filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on August 6, 2019. On November 1, ABG purchased the retailer for $271 million. The company has plans to bring the Barneys name over exclusively to Saks Fifth Avenue.
Keren Craig Leaves Marchesa
Once allegations were brought forth against her now ex-husband Harvey Weinstein, Keren Craig’s label Marchesa – which she cofounded with Georgia Chapman in 2004 – took a major hit. Runway shows were cancelled, celebs stopped wearing the brand, and Chapman and Craig took a backseat in the public eye. After 20 rocky months, in June 2019, Craig announced she’d be leaving her role with the company.
LVMH Buys Tiffany
In November 2019, Louis Vuitton owner, French luxury group LVMH, bought Tiffany for a cool $16.2 billion. The move marked the largest luxury brand acquisition ever. LVMH initially offered $14.5 billion for Tiffany, but the offer was too low. The deal is expected to go through mid 2020. The hope is that the luxury company can bring the shine back to the iconic Tiffany brand, which has seen better days since the era when the brand’s famous Heart Tag bracelets were a staple on the wrists of most young urban females.
Zac Posen Shutters Business
Zac Posen made headlines in November when he announced he would shutter the beloved design house he founded in 2001 at the age of 20. Representatives from House of Z and Z said that they could no longer support operations after a failed sales process. Don’t expect the celeb-favourite designer to disappear from the scene any time soon, however; he designed a stunning dress for Iman at New York’s Care Impact Awards gala just weeks after the shocking announcement.
Forever 21 Closes Up Shops
Forever 21 stores have become a rare sighting. This past September, the fast fashion retailer filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, announcing plans to close 350 stores worldwide. The news came after the brand’s sales fell from $4.4 million in 2016 to $3.3 billion in 2018. What went wrong? Forever 21 has lagged behind its competitors in the sustainability department, is no longer the “fastest” in the fast fashion game thanks to the emergence of new players, and has experienced no shortage of legal woos.
Rihanna Launches Fenty Fashion Label
Rihanna is getting praised for more than her music after launching her instantly successful Fenty fashion label back in May. In early December, the singer took home the Urban Luxe prize at the Fashion Awards in London. The award recognized Fenty’s collaboration with LVMH fashion house, which marked the first time in 32 years that a new brand was added to the lineup – and the first by a woman.
Calvin Klein Leaves the Collections Business
In March 2019, Calvin Klein made a bold move when it announced that it would be closing its collections and appointment business. As a result, the company will no longer be a staple on high-profile red carpets or at New York Fashion Week. Calvin Klein also let go of 100 employees globally, closed its Madison Avenue flagship, and saw the departure of president Michelle Kessler-Sanders. This all went down after chief creative officer Raf Simons left the company and the 205W39NYC brand became a thing of the past.
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