We have all been wondering exactly what form the Barneys Warehouse Sale will take after this season's finale at the familiar 17th Street location, and it turns out that the online version that appeared last season will become a permanent off-price site. Barneyswarehouse.com, launching on Monday, ten days before the physical Warehouse Sale is scheduled to begin. Unlike last season, however, the website will remain open as an ongoing clearance outlet for the store. Of last August's test of the online sale, Barneys Executive Vice President Daniella Vitale tells WWD, “We dipped our toe in the water and the [test] was enormously successful... It indicated this is something we should be doing on a long-term basis. They can all coexist and grow together”
The new ongoing site will act as an online version of Barneys' 13 outlet stores, though Vitale underplays the fact that Barneys buys merchandise to sell specifically in those stores (and we believe at the Warehouse Sale as well) that is never sold in full line Barneys New York locations. The site is expected to offer merchandise from previous seasons at up to 75% off including all product categories found in the stores.
What does this mean for the walk-in Warehouse Sale of the future? Vitale confirms that it will continue at a different location after this season, but it will primarily focus on men's tailored clothing, which is typically mmore challenging to sell online than men's sportswear and women's apparel, and requires more sales assistance. “The origin of the warehouse sale was as a men’s sale,” Vitale says, and it has always taken a substantial space in the traditional Warehouse Sales of the past. This means that going forward after this season, the racks of women's shoes and designer apparel will probably be reduced, or possibly eliminated altogether, along with much of the men's sportswear. Will Barneys be able to sustain a full-time website for clearance along with 13 outlet stores without buying additional off-price merchandise? Time will tell, but the upside will be not having to endure the lines to get in or check out, for one thing. What merchandise will be available remains to be seen, but at least it will presumably not have endured being crammed on racks and being pawed by who knows how many rapacious shoppers, often leaving once appealing goods somewhat the worse for wear by the end of the sale. Whether or not the website will also mirror the deep discounts that typically appear during the sales' final days also remains in question. We will all be anxious to see how this plays out in the coming months, so stay tuned.