Barneys Shells Out $525,000 to Settle ‘Shopping While Black’ Probe

The luxury retailer plans to hire a consultant to deal with “anti-profiling” for two years, as well as update policy and security and sales training.

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The front window of Barneys New York is seen on Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Barneys New York is cutting its losses (and bad press) and will cough up $525,000 to settle the racial-profiling allegations that have been weighed against it by the New York State attorney general, the New York Daily News reports.

In addition to the $525,000, which will be used for fines and legal fees, the high-end retailer also agreed to hire an “anti-profiling consultant” for two years, as well as update its policy on detention and work on training methods for its security and sales employees, the Daily News notes.

“This agreement will correct a number of wrongs,” New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told the news site, “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 agreement comes after an extensive nine-month review, including interviews from shoppers and former employees.

Complaints accused Barneys of targeting black and Hispanic customers, and store data from October 2012 to October 2014 seemingly backed up these allegations, showing that the aforementioned groups were held “at rates far greater than their percentage of the store’s customer base,” according to the Daily News.

The allegations first started coming to the forefront, the Daily News notes, after 19-year-old Trayon Christian was stopped and frisked by New York City cops after he bought a $350 Ferragamo belt. Shortly after, 21-year-old Kayla Phillips came forth with her own story of being accused of fraud after purchasing a $2,500 bag.

The settlement only affects policy changes and does not settle separate suits brought by Christian and Phillips, the Daily News notes.

“During the entirety of our 90-year history, Barneys New York has prided itself on providing an unparalleled customer experience to every person that comes into contact with our brand,” Marke Lee, CEO of the retailer, said in a statement following the agreement. “We [have] absolutely no tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”

Read more at the New York Daily News.

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