Calling it a move to increase shareholder value, L Brands Chairman and CEO Leslie Wexner will close all 23 Henri Bendel stores and the brand’s web site in January 2019. The iconic luxury retailer, which has operated since 1895, claims that its namesake founder was the first to hold a semi-annual sale, offer in-store makeovers and stage a fashion show.
Known for its brown-and-white striped bags and Fifth Avenue flagship store, Bendel also brought legendary designer Coco Chanel to the U.S. and, in the 1960s, employed Andy Warhol as an in-house illustrator. The retailer was immortalized in the Cole Porter song “You’re The Top,” when “a Bendel bonnet” was identified as a superlative.
The Fifth Avenue store and smaller-format locations in 11 states will stay open through January 2019, with new merchandise continuing to arrive throughout the holiday season, according to an L Brands press release. The company estimates that Henri Bendel will have 2018 revenues of approximately $85 million and a $45 million operating loss, excluding closing costs.
L Brands operates retailers including Victoria’s Secret, PINK, Bath & Body Works and La Senza. The company reported Q2 2018 sales of $2.984 billion, up from $2.755 billion during the same period in 2017. Comparable sales were up 3% for the quarter, but net income dropped to $99 million from $138.9 million in Q2 2017.