Barneys Bankruptcy Filing Reveals the Fate of the Union Square Store

Photo: Barneys New York

Photo: Barneys New York

Barneys New York has a good thing going here in San Francisco. In 2016, the upscale chain expanded with a new men’s shop in the former Ferrari store on O’Farrell Street. In 2018, Barneys saved shoppers from deciding between food and new clothes by opening Fred’s, its famous eatery, on the sixth floor of the store. But, under the très chic surface, Barneys has been suffering as a company.

This week, the retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to cope with increasing real estate costs and slumping sales. (You think your last rent hike was bad? Rent at Barneys Manhattan flagship increased from $16 million a year to $30 million, according to Reuters.) Along with the news that Barneys is seeking a buyer or partner to help it through bankruptcy, the filing also revealed that Barneys would be shuttering 15 of its 22 locations.

Seattle, Chicago, and Las Vegas stores are all on the chopping, block, but the San Francisco store is safe for now. In further good news for the Bay Area, the Barneys Warehouse outlet at the Livermore Premium Outlets is one of only two outlet stores that will survive the culling.

With the crop of unicorns filing for IPOs in the Bay Area this year, the local luxury market should be thriving. If you’re one of the newly-minted millionaires (or billionaires) in town, rest assured that Barneys and its lawyers see your deep pockets, and are more than happy to help you spend your money.