Valentino wants out of New York’s prestigious Fifth Avenue.
The Italian fashion house is suing its landlord, hoping to break its lease early. It says that the coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible to offer a high-end shopping experience at the Fifth Avenue address, where it has sold $1,000 pumps and $2,600 clutches since 2013.
In a lawsuit filed Sunday, Valentino said it told landlord Savitt Partners that it would vacate the store at the end of this year, nearly nine years before it could, but Savitt refused to end the lease.
A lawyer for Savitt declined to comment Monday, adding that his client doesn’t “litigate through the media.”
The pandemic has caused tension between retailers and landlords, with some national chains refusing to pay rent for stores that were forced to temporarily close because of the virus. Last month, mall owner Simon Property Group sued the Gap for three months of unpaid rent that totaled nearly $66 million for 390 locations.
Valentino said in its lawsuit that it has paid its rent, but painted a bleak picture of the future of high-end shopping in New York.
“Even in a post-pandemic New York City (should such a day arrive), the social and economic landscapes have been radically altered in a way that has drastically, if not irreparably, hindered Valentino’s ability to conduct high-end retail business at the Premises,” the company said in its lawsuit.
Clothing stores in New York reopened their doors for shoppers on Monday since being ordered shut in March. Some have closed fitting rooms, required shoppers to wear masks or have placed hand sanitizer throughout their shops.
Even before the pandemic, Fifth Avenue had lost some of its lustre. In recent years, Tommy Hilfiger and Polo Ralph Lauren have shut their stores for good on the famous shopping corridor.
Valentino’s store, which spans three floors, has other high-end neighbours, including Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)