Barneys Liquidation Gives Luxury Shoppers a Rare Black Friday Treat: Deep Discounts

November 26, 2019, 11:01 PM UTC
Street Style - Berlin - October 29, 2019
BERLIN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 29: Sonia Lyson is seen wearing blue teddy coat Max Mara, denim jeans Zara, black clutch Bottega Veneta on October 29, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Christian Vierig/Getty Images)
Christian Vierig—Getty Images

Barneys New York will deepen its discounts over Black Friday weekend in a rare clearance of luxury brands—undercutting rival retailers that are generally loathe to offer price cuts on expensive merchandise.

Clearance sales at Barneys will average 30% to 35% off starting on Wednesday as the holiday shopping rush begins, a representative for B. Riley Financial, the firm handling the sale all remaining inventory, confirmed Tuesday. That’s steeper than the earlier round of 5% to 10% discounts, and could have an impact on rivals’ luxury sales during Black Friday.

Store-wide discounts of this magnitude are scarce at high-end retailers, which avoid heavy discounting in order to maintain an exclusive aura around their luxury goods. Promotions are normally limited to leftover merchandise from previous seasons that didn’t sell, but since Barneys is liquidating everything, the sales are on 95% of the store’s goods—including seldom-discounted brands such as Prada and Bottega Veneta.

Barneys’ move to liquidate an entire chain worth of luxury goods is unprecedented, said Beth Goldstein, an analyst for fashion and handbags at research firm NPD Group. As Barneys keeps slashing prices during the crucial holiday season, the lower prices may impact its competitors as well, especially at stores close to the remaining five Barneys locations. Discounts are expected to intensify through the holidays as products sell out.

‘Completely Different’

“It’s completely different from what we’ve seen from anyone in the past,” said Goldstein. “We don’t see discounts like this on luxury goods.”

Barneys has been selling its remaining inventory after Authentic Brands Group won court approval to buy the bankrupt company in late October. It plans to license the Barneys name and close most stores as it rolls out shops inside of Saks Fifth Avenue locations. A representative for ABG declined to comment.

Returns are no longer accepted by Barneys and shoppers can’t redeem gift cards as the retailer looks to jettison remaining merchandise. There are more than 26,000 different luxury items still available on the Barneys online store.

Meanwhile, several Barneys locations have been promoting their store-closing sales with people on the street holding up red-and-yellow signage, reading “Everything must be sold.”

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