New York landmark Henri Bendel has closed its doors after 123 years in business. And like most industries - automotive and healthcare, among others - fashion is still in the midst of a massive digital transformation that is weeding out the stalwarts of old and replacing them with more agile, customer-centric brands.
Articles are claiming Bendel as another "victim" of the Retail Apocalypse, but it's a more accurate depiction to say this news is simply a sign of the times. A recent WSJ article portrayed a more optimistic side of the brick-and-mortar bedlam with only 10% of retail sales taking place online, the physical store as we know it has evolved.
In this new, interactive environment, stale displays and aloof sales associates have been exchanged for "innovative dressing rooms" and "curbside pick-up." The technology that dominates every aspect of our lives is finally being put to good use to improve and enhance the retail industry. FINALLY, an industry that is driven completely by consumer demand is responding to consumer demands.
I get it, no one likes change. Store closings are the most blatant and emotive symbol of a past that we're leaving behind and not looking back on. There's a few things in this world that are sadder than the image of an abandoned shopping mall or the memory of getting your first day of school outfit from SEARS. But as one doors closes, a new era of shopping begins and with it new experiences for the consumer to enjoy.
In its heyday, Henri Bendel was as iconic a New York department store as Bergdorf’s and Bloomingdale’s. It claims to have pioneered the semiannual sale and store-in-store displays.