A lot of New York shoppers may be thinking that the next week will be their last chance to catch one more opportunity to shop the Barneys Warehouse Sale that has been a seasonal bargain resource for years.
Well, unfortunately for them, that would have been last Fall. The sale that opened up yesterday in the longtime Chelsea space that Barneys will soon be turned out of is so diminished that The Shophound wonders why they bothered holding it at all. A lot of us have been wondering if the new online Barneys Warehoue site would have an impact on the amount and quality of the merchandise made available at the final sale in its traditional location, and the answer is yes to both concerns. Clearly, and in fairness, smartly, the retailer has reserved the best items to sell online. What is left for this sale is a pretty pitiful selection of goods that didn't make the cut. In terms of sheer volume, there appears to be about half the amount of merchandise available as we have come to expect from this event, which is why the sale seems strangely spacious. Women's apparel, the main draw, is now arranged only by category rather than designer, which suggests that the designer selection is fairly light at best. The women's shoe racks appeared reduced in numbers to us, and it was difficult for us to tell how much of the merchandise was from this past fall or previous seasons. There is virtually nothing from the Chelsea passage home department except for some stacks of coffee table books which regulars will recognize as leftovers from last season's sale. Women's accessories are similarly sparse, and the whole thing seems conspicuously meager.
Downstairs in the men's department is where you can really see how the event has been cut back. Men's tailored clothing has been reduced in space by at least half, as have dress shirts and furnishings, but not socks and hats. For some mysterious reason, there are bins and bins of socks and hats —more than we have seen before— but that hardly makes up for the sad shoe selection. It has been stripped of any of the desirable brands Barneys is known for in favor of some dodgy looking private label merchandise, and a few tough-sells from high profile labels
The second basement section, usually devoted to sportswear, is now reserved for merchandise from previous seasons with blue-star stamped tags. This may be the only opportunity for a real bargain, since it is all being sold for 75% off the lowest ticket price. It is mostly aged merchandise, so what is available is definitely hit or miss, and some sizes are barely represented. There is a much smaller blue-star section upstairs on the women's floor as well, and both departments offer an orange tag area featuring none too appealing priced-as-marked goods that appear to be damaged or otherwise altered in some way.
Overall, the entire sale is a disappointment, and just seems depressing. As usual, nothing has yet been reduced beyond its most recent ticket price, but we're not sure that you would want it even if it were marked down further. The sale that we all knew and looked forward to is now long gone. We have been told that next season, a new sale will be held focusing on menswear, but if this is any suggestion of what we can expect from future sales, then we don't see the point in continuing with the walk-in sales at all. Put it all online or send it to the outlet stores. The old Barneys Warehouse Sale is dead. Let it rest in piece.
Barney's Warehouse Sale Through February 24th at 255 West 17th Street between 7th & 8th Avenues, Chelsea