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The recent transition from Barneys Co-op to Barneys New York at the retailer's Upper West Side location was apparently just a slice of a much larger pie: Barneys is doing away with the Co-op concept all together. To recap, back in March it was announced that the UWS location would lose its mens department, introduce women's designer, and undergo a renovation to make it look more like the Madison Avenue flagship.
The remodel—which included upgraded tile floors, new fixtures, and an enlarged shoe area—will be a paragon for other store renovations, including the city's two other Co-op locations. Soho's outpost will see a 2014 remodel, while Brooklyn's Atlantic Avenue shop—which will continue catering to both men and women—is also "slated for a facelift."
After shuttering the 18th Street store, the retailer is on the hunt for a downtown Manhattan location. Both World Trade Center and Brookfield Place were rejected because they didn't "fit the bill"—street presence and a neighborhood vibe are essential.
"The Co-op offered the spirit of Barneys style at a lower price before contemporary and secondary collections existed," CEO Mark Lee told WWD of the concept, which was launched in 1986. The transitioned stores will functions as smaller, localized units of the luxury retail giant. "With everything we're doing, it's more about the edit now. It's about how we curate these small specialty stores."
The company had realized that the distinction between Barneys and Co-op customers was diminishing, and that Co-Op shoppers were interested in higher-end brands like Proenza Schouler and Azzedine Alaïa as well as the store's typical staples like Diane von Furstenberg and Helmut Lang. Barneys plans to have each of the remaining Co-op stores—11 in total—reflect the spirit of their respective neighborhoods.
WWD also reported that Jay Z met with the retailer about a potential collaboration and speculated that it could be for their upcoming holiday campaign. If so, he'd be following in the footsteps of the Walt Disney Co. and Lady Gaga, likely resulting in some epic holiday windows.—Laura Gurfein
·Barneys New York Unites Stores Under One Banner [WWD]
· Barneys Is Working on Some Kind of Secret Project with Jay Z [Racked]
·The UWS Barneys Co-op Begins Its Dramatic Revolution [Racked NY]