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Barneys Drops Prada Handbags and Womenswear; CEO Mark Lee Talks More Upcoming Changes

>> There's been a lot of speculation, but Barneys new chief executive Mark Lee has finally shed some light on where he's taking the retailer — and it doesn't involve Prada handbags or women's ready-to-wear, both of which Barneys has dropped. Barneys will continue to sell Prada menswear and women's footwear, while Valextra, which is now exclusive to the retailer (it was once exclusive at Saks), will take the place of Prada handbags on the floor.

Lee, who explained, “I’m a worker, not so much a talker,” says there will be several more shifts in merchandise assortments (soon, Barneys will house Azzedine Alaia's largest space in the US), but there are no plans to close any of the Barneys flagship stores, despite recent thought otherwise. WWD noted on Monday: "It is widely believed Barneys New York is bolstered mainly by its three flagships in New York, Beverly Hills and Chicago, and dragged down by newer stores opened in Dallas, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Boston and Scottsdale."

Instead of spending money on new store openings, as Barneys has done in recent years, budget will instead be allocated to store renovations, particularly in the New York and Beverly Hills locations. The awnings at the New York store will be changed from red to black to tie in better with the iconic black Barneys shopping bags, and a new black and white ad campaign is set to break Sunday in The New York Times Style section, followed by appearances in magazines like Vogue — peeks at the ads here and here.

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