By Ashley Davis
Columbus, Ohio—L Brands Inc. has announced it will shutter all 23 Henri Bendel stores and e-commerce in January 2019.

The owner of Victoria’s Secret said in a media release the move would increase shareholder value.

Until the closure, the fashion accessories retailer and its website will continue to stock new merchandise for the holiday season.

Store associates who remain with Henri Bendel through January will receive a retention bonus. Employees will be able to interview for other positions within L Brands or will receive separation pay and job search support, the company said.

In addition to Victoria’s Secret, L Brands operates Pink, Bath & Body Works and La Senza. It has 3,084 stores worldwide and its brands are also sold in more than 800 franchised locations.

L Brands estimated that in 2018 Henri Bendel would reach $85 million in revenue but total $45 million in operating losses, excluding the costs of closing its stores.

“We are committed to improving performance in the business and increasing shareholder value,” Chairman and CEO Leslie Wexner said. “As part of that effort, we have decided to stop operating Bendel to improve company profitability and focus on our larger brands that have greater growth potential.

“This decision is right for the future growth of our company, but not easy because of the impact to our L Brands family. I want to thank our Bendel associates for their dedication to this iconic brand and to our loyal Bendel customers.”

Henri Bendel opened his original store, a millinery, in 1895. A branding pioneer, he registered his own trademark that year and created the store’s iconic brown-and-white striped shopping bag and hatbox.

According to the Henri Bendel website, Bendel was the first luxury retailer to have a store on upper Fifth Avenue in New York City, and the first to hold twice-yearly sales, provide in-store makeovers and hold store fashion shows.

Over the years, the stores carried haute couture collections from Paris, as well as Bendel’s own apparel designs. The store also stocked fragrances, cosmetics, skincare, lingerie and handbags.

L Brands acquired the company in 1985 and opened a new New York City flagship in 1991.

In 2008, the company began expanding its store locations outside of New York.

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