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Exclusive: Department Store Barney's New York Inc explores bankruptcy

© Reuters. People walk near a Barney's New York store in New York

By Jessica DiNapoli and Mike Spector

NEW YORK (Reuters) – US Department Store operator Barney's New York Inc investigates options that include bankruptcy proceedings, as it is struggling with high leases and changes consumer tastes, tell people who are familiar with the case on Saturday.

The nearly 100-year-old dealer, known for his high-end designer collection, is working with the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP to prepare for a potential bankruptcy proceedings that may come in the coming weeks, one source said.

Barneys has not yet made a final decision to seek bankruptcy protection or not, and weighs other possible solutions to deal with high tenancy that is strenuous its business, the sources warned. Filing for bankruptcy would be an option for dealing with expensive leases, the sources said.

The dealer's flagship variant on Madison Avenue in Manhattan has weighed the economy, one of the sources said. The sources asked are not identified because the deliberations are confidential.

"In Barney's New York, our customers remain top priority and we are committed to providing them with the good services, products, and experiences they have come to expect," the company said in a statement.

"We continue to work closely with all of our partners to achieve the goals we have put together and maximize value. In this regard, the board and management actively consider opportunities to strengthen the balance sheet and ensure sustainable, long-term growth and business success

Should there be a bankruptcy file, Barneys would be one of the most profiled victims of the downturn in retail, and emphasize how Even luxury goods stores are not immune to fierce competition with e-commerce companies such as Inc (O:

Sears Holdings Inc, Toys "R" Us Inc and Gymboree Group Inc have also filed for bankruptcy in roug the past year.

In addition to its exclusive department stores, Barney's Barney's Warehouse operates outlets, as well as Fred's restaurants. All in all, Barney's has 28 sites, according to its website, its most prominent places being Beverly Hills, California; Chicago; Seattle; Boston; San Francisco; and Las Vegas. [1[ads1]9659004] Barneys got its name in the 1930s by placing women dressed in barrels outside of beer halls in New York City, where they would release match books that advertised the store, according to the reseller's website.

The store, now known for exclusive clothing made by designers like Burberry Group Plc (L :), began as a target for middle class families. It turned into a luxury fashion in the 1960s.

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