Sam Ben-Avraham, the KITH co-founder behind a public bid to save Barneys, has pulled out of the running to acquire the storied New York City retailer. On an Instagram account called @thespiritofbarney, formerly @savebarneys, Ben-Avraham explained the difficult decision.
“Last night after two months of working around the clock, my team and I had to make the hardest decision we could have imagined: to pull out of the race and not go to court this morning,” the post says. “This was one of the hardest decisions I have made in my life thus far. My team and I still feel very strongly about Barneys: what it stands for and what it could mean in the future. We believe it has its place in New York’s landscape and beyond.”
On Thursday, a bankruptcy judge approved the sale of Barneys’ assets to Authentic Brands Group for $271.4 million. Under the deal, the stores will close, and ABG has already agreed to license the Barneys name to Saks Fifth Avenue, according to Business of Fashion. Inventory will be sold off, and ABG says the brand will continue a retail presence with pop-ups, shop-in-shops, e-commerce, and a new freestanding store in a key US market.
“Its initial focus will be on high-fashion collaborations, branded namesake products, and expanding international retail in both brick and mortar and [e-commerce,]” ABG said in a statement. “There is also a strategy in development for Freds to export this beloved eatery to luxury destinations around the world.”
The Madison Avenue store in New York City will also be turned into a pop-up experience.
Ben-Avraham explained he and his team had to pull out: “Unfortunately, we failed to convince enough people in the business community that it made economic sense to keep Barney’s alive. Some unexpected road blocks were put in our way. We understood from the beginning that looking at spreadsheets and numbers, it did not make sense but we saw a future beyond that. We knew that once we overcame that hurdle there would be light at the end of the tunnel. I apologize if I have failed anyone, and gave anyone false hope by not being able to close the deal. I know this chapter is about be be over and not the way I wished or imagined. I hope something greater will come from It.”