Just How Different Are You?

With the totally expected news that Barney’s New York is filing for bankruptcy protection, one more bricks-and-mortar store finds itself in a tight spot from the ongoing restructuring of the American retail sector. What is notable about Barney’s is the notion of being different from all other stores.

“From the beginning — especially in the beginning — Barneys held itself apart from the other department stores, not only in New York but pretty much everywhere … As Gene Pressmen, the grandson of Barney Pressmen, the founder, told The Times: ‘Of course, there are a lot of stores uptown. But there’ll be only one Barneys. We’re different.'”

In the end, though, Barney’s is governed by the same iron-clad law of retail that covers all other stores and every private, independent school: one must generate sufficient margin to remain a going concern. Maybe no one is really as different as they wish to be.

Business and leadership, Strategy  |  permalink

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