Henri Bendel ‘Restructures,’ Ditches Clothes, Staff


Beloved by the ladies of the 10021 area code, Henri Bendel has always been more of a mecca for cosmetics and other feminine gewgaws than for wearables. Well, as WWD reports, that's never, ever, ever going to change. In a "restructuring" — ominous sounding, yes — the luxe giant is ditching its entire clothing catalogue, concentrating instead on beauty and accessories, in preparation for extending the brand with new stores. Sounds like solid business, considering that, in this little recession we've got, Barneys and the other retailers on the Golden Mile can outsell Bendel in the $2,000-gown department. But look closer. The Fifth Avenue flagship is aping the strategy so popular with truncated offices right now by renting out its third floor, and, while WWD points to an upcoming 8 percent staff reduction across the board, we heard last night that the blood is already on the floor, with multiple layoffs in the marketing and buying departments executed yesterday afternoon. Happy expansion, kids!

Bendel's Focuses on New Strategy [WWD]