New York City’s luxury retail outlook is dim — literally. Swanky Madison Avenue shops on the Upper East Side are lowering lights, locking doors and opening by appointment only in an effort to combat a relentless scourge of brazen daytime shoplifters terrorizing the glitzy thoroughfare. The Carolina Herrera boutique near 67th Street has been robbed so many times it now pretends to be shuttered, with lights dimmed and door dead-bolted shut, even during normal business hours. “It looks closed,” lamented one bride-to-be, hoping to drop six figures on three Herrera dresses for the walk down the aisle and post-ceremony receptions. She noted it’s a “bad look” for one of the world’s most celebrated luxury shopping districts. Shop workers opened the door after seeing the future bride and a friend peering through the window. “The normal thing now today is to lock our doors on Madison Avenue,” confessed Carolina Herrera sales associate Michelle Singh, while showing off the fashion accessories, handbags most notably, that have proven a favorite target of an apparent organized band of shoplifters brazenly plucking luxury fashions off the shelves of avenue boutiques.
Herrera’s swankiest handbag, a supple black leather fashion statement dotted with sparkling handblown Murano glass from Italy, is reportedly a favorite of Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle. It costs $4,500. Singh was at the center of one recent theft, when a “normal-looking man in his 40s” made off with “four or five” bags from Venezuelan-American fashion maker and NYC resident Herrera. Singh tried to stop the hoodlum from walking out with the stash, but was encouraged by colleagues to let him unlock the door and leave for fear he might turn violent. “We don’t feel safe,” chimed in a Carolina Herrera store manager, who gave his hame only as Michael. “You feel violated when they come in.” The store has locked its doors “for at least several months” to limit unfettered access. Nearby, Chanel (at 64th) and Prada (at 70th) are also locked during normal business hours, with well-dressed security guards standing by, opening the entrance for potential shoppers after eyeing them through the door windows. An NYPD patrol car with two officers sat outside Prada Friday afternoon.