Financial News

  • 12 August 2014, 19:57

Barneys Agrees To Pay Fine Over Race Row

Barneys has agreed a $525,000 (£312,700) settlement following allegations that the luxury retailer racially profiled customers at its flagship store in New York.

The agreement comes after a probe was launched last year amid complaints that minority shoppers were followed by store security and disproportionately singled out for credit card scrutiny.

In October, two young black shoppers at the store†said were detained by police after legitimately purchasing expensive designer goods.

In announcing the settlement, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said: "This agreement will correct a number of wrongs, both by fixing past policies and by monitoring the actions of Barneys and its employees to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated."

The department store also agreed to†hire an "anti-profiling consultant" and make changes to its suspected theft policies and security training, Mr Schneiderman†said.

Barneys' CEO Mark Lee said the company was pleased with the settlement.

He said: "Barneys New York has prided itself on providing an unparalleled customer experience to every person that comes into contact with our brand - open and welcoming to one and all."

Allegations of racial profiling, which were also levelled at Macy's, sparked protests last fall and led to a meeting between Mr Lee and civil rights activist the Rev Al Sharpton.

Macy's, which agreed to pay a $600,000 fine following similar allegations in 2005, reached an undisclosed settlement in July with actor Rob Brown, who is black.

The Treme series star filed a civil lawsuit against the department store in November after he was detained over accusations of credit card fraud while he was buying a gift for his mother.

Music mogul Jay-Z was also caught up in the furore over his planned collaboration with Barneys for a holiday collection.

The rapper eventually decided to move forward with the charity project after he was permitted to help lead the retailer's policy review.

Barneys, Macy's and other retailers agreed in December to create a customer bill of rights.