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Henri Bendel Stores To Close By January

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - A luxury brand with a very long history in New York is coming to an end.

Henri Bendel, known for its signature brown-and-white bags, will close all 23 of its locations.

The company started in Greenwich Village 123 years ago and was among the first luxury brands to open on upper Fifth Avenue.

"I've been coming here for, I don't know, 40 years," Los Angeles resident Barbara Alderette told CBS2's Clark Fouraker. "Different things you don't find in any other store. Really sad! This is awful!"

The store frequently was among the top spots for window displays during the winter holiday season.

The Fifth Avenue location going vacant doesn't surprise retail expert Dana Telsey, who says marquee shopping streets across the country are trading legacy names for newer and younger brands.

"Frankly, to drive traffic, you need the change. I'm just as anxious as you are to see the new tenants that will occupy the Ralph Lauren store, the Henry Bendel store, and others," Telsey said.

The chain is owned by L Brands, which says it will focus on its larger businesses, including Victoria's Secret.

The stores will close in January.

Henry Bendel was a women's hat maker from Lafayette, Louisiana. He moved to New York in 1895 and began catering to the city's elite, making the stores' brown and white striped shopping and bags and hat boxes a coveted status symbol. In the 1960s, its in-house illustrator was a young artist named Andy Warhol.

The company's flagship store on New York's Fifth Avenue, steps away from Trump Tower, is a landmark in Manhattan.

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