Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Retail News: Henri Bendel, Napoleon Perdis, Woodley & Bunny


And none of it is particularly good.

* Napoleon Perdis continues his quest to become a legit luxury brand. The latest move is doing the opposite of what we've seen from Lancome or Clinique: Napoleon Perdis, which is now sold at Nordstrom and Bergdorf Goodman, is pulling out of Ulta. Personally, I don't mind one way or another except for my general feeling that the products are not exactly Bergdorf quality (and you can find better at Ulta as well.

* Much sadder is the closing of Brooklyn's Woodley & Bunny . It was a beauty salon with an adjacent boutique that offered niche fragrances and cosmetics. It was where I met Ellis Faas a few years ago, and was quite impressed with their selection. Twisted Lily is now the go-to place for fragrance in the borough, but there's a gaping hole where it comes to indie makeup brands.

* But the most flabbergasting news is the change coming to Henri Bendel. A few years ago they got rid of their fashion department (remember when they still carried DVF?) and filled the store with tacky accessories. They lost the MAC mini-store a couple of years ago, moved their fragrance department several times, and stubbornly refused to go where every other department store in the known universe has gone and offer their entire perfume and cosmetics stock online. Now they're eliminating all the third party products, which means everything not under their own private label. They will have a full store devoted to their merchandise, basically rendering it nothing but a (very lame) tourist attraction. Is there such a massive demand for brown and white stripes to justify this move? Who will take up their place as one of the city's best fragrance retailers? Will we ever set foot there again after September? (And most important: will there be a massive clearance sale like they had when Takashimaya closed?)

13 comments:

  1. Have to declare an interest. I live down the road from the Mall at Short Hills and we have a "Bendels" full of brown and white striped bits and bobbles, but no fragrances or anything else of interest.

    I will miss Bendels. I bought my wedding dress (black) there and my Mother in Law bought hers (not black) there too-forty years earlier. What is the point of a landmark shop if it turns into a a tourist trap? Now that I've got that off my chest-I'm going to any closing sale!

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  2. That's so disappointing about Henri Bendel. There's a tiny HB store in a nearby mall (suburban Chicago), but I've never ventured in, due to the kitschy accessories in the display window. Thought it was an anomaly, sorry to learn it's a trend~Caroline

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  3. I'm sad about Woodley & Bunny. That is (was) a great shop. Boo Hoo :-(

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  4. That's so sad about HB, I used to love going to the Manhattan store and then moved to Boston and shopped at the one there. I can remember buying my first MAC, Laura Mercier, Kevyn Aucoin,...all before these and other new brands became common. And I bought some great jewelry, clothes and bags there too. I'm almost glad I live in the south now and won't see this decline. I give the all-HB merchandise store 2 years tops.

    As for Napoleon Perdis, after being disappointed numerous times with this brand, it's officially on my "do not buy" list, despite how pretty something might look I know I'll be po'ed by the quality and inflated price. I won't even touch the stuff on the clearance end cap at Target. They must have killer sales staff to make it to Bergdorfs.

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  5. Sadly, limiting HB to only HB items is probably going to be their "swan song".

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  6. I'm sad about Bendel...I lived in NYC for most of my life, and HB served as my intro to so many brands (such as Bobbi Brown, back in 1995), both fragrant and cosmetic. I guess I won't be visiting there again.

    And I'm still sad about Takashimaya. I used to love shopping there and then having tea downstairs afterward.

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    Replies
    1. I miss Takashimaya every time I go to New York. Tea was my treat after a hard day's shopping. :(

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  7. Hmm Perdis is going to Bergdorf's? I was disappointed with some products I had gotten and I don't find it an interesting brand. I can't really see it selling next to Chanel, Dior, Tom Ford, etc. that are already there. HB...I guess it is having trouble competing with the other department stores and boutiques so decided to focus on its own brand. It will be sad to see another empty store on Fifth Avenue if it does not succeed.

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  8. "They will have a full store devoted to their merchandise, basically rendering it nothing but a (very lame) tourist attraction."

    Seriously, they might as well move the store down to Times Square and be done with it.

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  9. I've never been a big fan of HB since I found their staff stuffy and not very helpful. It has been going downhill for years since it started opening satellite stores in malls around the country selling tacky overpriced tchotchkes that never looked appealing. I think the retrenchment into HB-only brands is a death knell.

    That being said, I still miss Takashimaya. Their tea cafe was such a treat when doing the 5th Ave trek and I miss their perfectly curated selections.

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  10. I haven't ventured into HB for years - their sales staff had a snooty attitude that was off-putting.

    I do miss Takashimaya - that was a must visit for me on every NYC trip.

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  11. HB opened a store at Tysons II last year. I was excited they were coming. When I went for the first and only time, I found a whole store full of HB-branded junk. I predict the store will be closed as soon as the lease expires.

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    Replies
    1. I'm with Charleston Girl, HB can not survive on their own. Why are they doing this???

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