In a year in which U.S. department stores are already struggling to stay afloat amid the economic crisis and changes in customer's shopping habits brought on by the pandemic, Amazon’s incursion into luxury fashion is the latest hit they have received.
The e-commerce giant announced the launch of its Luxury Stores that will premiere with Oscar de la Renta’s pre-fall and fall-winter 2020 collections. Amazon said additional luxe fashion brands will be added to the app in the next weeks, and added that it will not only partner with established major brands but also with emerging luxury fashion and beauty companies.
For the moment, only Amazon Prime members will be able to shop there by invitation, but there is already a waiting list, so invitations will be extended to more customers over time, it said.
High-end department stores that sell designer-name bands have increasingly fallen out of fashion with shoppers in the last years, and in such a particular scenario things have only gotten worse.
This year has brought bankruptcy filings from Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor. Barneys New York went bankrupt last year. Saks Fifth Avenue shuttered its men’s department store downtown in New York City.
Fashion brands that have long relied on these stores to offer them channels of distribution are now much more reliant on their own shops and websites, and this is one more blow for the sector.