As retail flagships fall, can fifth avenue retain its luster?

by MR Magazine Staff

After the holiday shopping season, the Henri Bendel flagship store at 712 Fifth Ave. will close its doors, vacating the 86,000 square feet it has leased since 1991. The official reason for the departure, according to Columbus, Ohio–based parent L Brands Inc., is that it wants to focus on Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, the parts of its portfolio with more growth potential. But the unspoken factor was the identity crisis that many once-revered retailers are facing as online shopping has forced brick-and- mortar stores to feature more than just merchandise to stay competitive. Reinvention means delivering an “experience” that draws customers with unique offerings they can’t find on a screen—a difficult task for staid brands such as Henri Bendel. Facing a similar reality, Hudson’s Bay Co., the Canadian owner of Lord & Taylor, decided to close that retailer’s main store at 424 Fifth Ave., also after one more holiday season. Read more at Crain’s New York.