Fifth Avenue is going out of style for luxury retailers, as coronavirus erodes sales

Ira A. Johnson

High-end fashion stores on New York’s Fifth Avenue used to play the role of a showroom, where shoppers could browse through curated racks of clothes with a glass of champagne. However, with shopping at a near standstill and in-store sales hovering at zero, that prime real estate is becoming a drag on retailers’ balance sheets.

Italian fashion house Valentino sought court approval on Monday to immediately terminate its lease on its four-story New York Boutique on Fifth Avenue, saying its premium address had been “substantially hindered and rendered impractical, unfeasible and no longer workable,” according to a complaint filed to the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Valentino blamed “COVID-19-related restrictions, social distancing measures, a lack of consumer confidence and a prevailing fear of patronizing, in-person, ‘non-essential’ luxury retail boutiques.”

It is the latest luxury retailer scrambling to adapt to a new world order of contactless shopping and

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