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Business Insider reports that Barney’s New York, a Manhattan department store institution, “is looking to reduce the footprint of its iconic New York flagship store on Madison Avenue by more than half, giving up five of its nine floors.”

The story notes that “the upscale department store chain joins retailers including Gap, Lord & Taylor, Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren who have taken decisive action to cut expensive flagship stores in recent months.” While the flagship store traditionally was seen as a marketing tool that went beyond a retailing function, “increasingly the flagship has become a less relevant - yet still costly - marketing tool due to changes in consumer shopping habits.”
KC's View:
This is a decision that almost all bricks-and-mortar retailers are going to face - at what point do we need to think smaller, simply because there is less need in an e-commerce world for buildings the size we used to build them? Even institutions have to make adjustments, or those institutions will crumble.

It is interesting to me that one retailer that has faced the future head on - Nordstrom, with its radical new Nordstrom Local format in Los Angeles - also chose this period of time to build its first stores (the men’s and women’s stores are separate) in Manhattan. Seems a little counterintuitive to me, but then again, I wouldn’t know how to run a department store to save my life.