Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pressman Wants Barneys Back

As rumors swirl that the Istithmar, the private equity firm from Dubai that owns Barneys, is looking to get out, we hear on VERY good authority that Gene Pressmen wants back in.

The New York Times reports that Barneys would probably fetch $300 million to $400 million now, considerably less than the $942 million Istithmar paid to obtain the luxury goods retailer for the Japanese clotting conglomerate, Fast Retailing.

Before Gene jumps back into the retail business that he-- um-- troubled. We thought it would be prudent to pass on some friendly words of advice.

1. Customer Service: The backbone of a luxury business is service. Barneys has never been known for any-service. This would be a prime time to scoop up talented sales associates who have fallen on hard time at other luxury department stores.

2. Technology: Your online inventory controls are horrible. Your system needs to be updates so that customers who purchase items online don't get an email weeks later saying that the product they purchased is out of stock.

3. Social Networking: Times have changed since you ran Barneys. These days customers don't need to step one foot into a store or even be on the computer to shop. We suggest arming sales associates with camera equip Blackberries. An item comes in, it's photographed, emailed to clients and poof sales are made. This works the other way too. Client sees a picture in a magazine, emails her sales associate and poof another sale is made.

4. The Men's Store: Barneys was founded on servicing men. This foundation has been lost over the years. We suggest going back to your roots. It worked then and it will work now.

5. Learn From Past Mistakes: You've been through this before. Remember to keep your eye on the ball and nothing good ever comes from "chasing cool." If you earn it, cool will find you.

With these words we wish you luck in securing financing. In this environment getting money will be no easy feat, but the reward will be plentiful. Just take some time to look into the future of retailing. There's a lot of promise you just need to have deep pockets and vision. 


Anonymous said...

Totally agree with all of those ideas for Barneys! Great work!!

Anonymous said...

I think we could come up with 50 things for that list! Glad I'm not the only one that feels Barneys is becoming slightly inferior to other stores.

The Fashionable Matilda said...

Love this post, these are all great ideas that we ponder but don't say out loud.

Target-Addict said...

GREAT tips for Barney's! I live on the left coast and can tell you that the San Francisco store was like a GHOST TOWN during the holidays. Seriously, you could have shot a cannon thru the place and no one would have noticed. And their customer service? Non-existent. Barney's really needs to step it up in that department.