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We visited Barneys as the iconic department store prepares to close and found a bleak scene in total disarray

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  • As Barneys nears its final days, inventory is growing sparse and stores are in a state of complete disarray as liquidation sales culminate. The two remaining stores in Manhattan are expected to close in mid-February, according to employees.
  • I visited the uptown flagship store on Madison Avenue and the downtown location on 7th Avenue and found bleak scenes at both locations, with empty shelves, ransacked beauty counters, and messy floors.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

For Barneys, the end’s not near, it’s essentially here.

As New York’s iconic luxury department store prepares to close its doors in mid-February, store-wide liquidation sales are rapidly approaching final days as remaining inventory wanes.

On a recent visit to Manhattan’s two stores – the Madison Avenue flagship and the downtown location on 7th Avenue – shelves were sparse and picked-over, and very few shoppers were seen braving the messy racks.

The most devoted bargain hunters can still score a deal, but only if they’re willing to dig through disorganized piles of luxury items, which are discounted by as much as 90% off.

Here’s what it was like visiting Barneys in its final days.


I started our Barneys memorial shopping venture at the Madison Avenue flagship store uptown, where the once-elaborate window displays were as bleak as ever.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


As I entered the store, the emphatic red and yellow liquidation signs were blinding.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


I started downstairs in the beauty department, which was by far the most desolate part of the store.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


On this messy counter, I found a depressing scene of perfume samples being sold in bulk from a storage bin.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Then I found even more sad samples in storage bins.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Everywhere I looked, there were miscellaneous plastic bins filled with beauty products …

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


… and I mean everywhere.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


The counters were in such a state of disarray, it looked like someone had ransacked the store.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


All of the shelves were mostly empty …

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


… and individual brand counters were nearly barren.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Here, a lone foundation sits on an empty shelf.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Meanwhile, high-end brands like Tatcha were discounted at as low as $16.50.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Meanwhile, this $250 „beauty bag“ was going for $25.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Next, I made my way to the upper levels to see how the liquidation sale was faring in the other departments.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Let’s just say upstairs wasn’t much better. The first thing I saw was an information box for inquiries on purchasing fixtures and equipment.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Unlike in previous months, there were very few shoppers to be found on a Thursday afternoon.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


In the men’s department, tons of racks were nearly empty.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Meanwhile, stickers were affixed to various fixtures around the store to indicate they had been sold, like this marble table …

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


… and also these chairs.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


The home goods area was scattered with totally random items, many of which were in boxes.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


In the women’s department, I found these sparse racks of designer clothing …

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


… and also these.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Nearby was an extremely messy table with a bubblegum pink leather purse strewn atop a pile of disjointed clothing.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Another floor was devoted to just fur jackets …

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


… and rugs.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Certain parts of the store were completely cleared out.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


The shoe department had probably the most inventory, though it was a bit of an eyesore.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


I also spotted some bizarre items, like this display of dog ornaments for 80% off.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


I started to feel a bit glum in this ghost town of a store, so I decided it was time to call it a day.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Next, I made my way downtown to the location on 7th Avenue.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


A sign on the front door advertised „imperfect“ women’s clothing on the lower level.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


As an imperfect woman myself, I decided to journey downstairs first in the hopes of scoring some major deals.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


However, these two dresses were the only pieces of apparel I could find.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


So instead I turned my attention to the beauty department, which was just as bleak as at the uptown store.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


I spotted a couple of brave shoppers scouring the nearly empty racks.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


At one point, a sales associate motioned to his colleague to prevent customers from rifling through drawers for additional products.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Ultimately, I left the beauty department empty-handed.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Upstairs, the first thing I saw were these garish sale signs on giant flat-screen TVs.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


A sign on the wall boasted „new deeper discounts.“

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


This floor was in a complete state of chaos, with items like this ball cap that reads „professional enthusiast“ that seemed a little out of place.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Nearby there was a stack of blankets (or perhaps scarves?) next to a stack of Barneys catalogs.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


I somehow completely missed the sign stating they were $1 and threw one in my bag as a memento, but the security guard nearby said nothing. I’m sorry, Barneys.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Unlike the beauty department, there were still quite a few handbags left at major discounts.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


This bag was discounted from $3,950 to $1,580.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


On the upper level, the shoe department was in disarray.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Men’s was a bit better, though there was hardly anyone in sight.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Freds, the beloved restaurant inside Barneys, is still open just for lunch.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Signs in Freds read „cash only.“

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Farewell, Freds.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


As I looped my way back down, still empty-handed, I felt compelled to buy something for posterity. A memento, if you will.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


I was devoted to finding a Barneys relic on the cheap. However, it was definitely not going to be this creepy ceramic shoe decor that I found in the home goods area.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


I considered buying a fixture, but then remembered I live in New York and have no room in my apartment.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Eventually, I found a fun geometric art print and a Barneys brand leather tote, for a combined $60. However, it took 15 minutes just to find a sales associate to check out.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider


Ultimately, it was a very sad visit. Farewell, Barneys, may you live on in our hearts and closets.

Foto: sourceBethany Biron/Business Insider



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