OLD Media Moves

Former NYT retail reporter Barmash dies at 84

November 12, 2006

Isadore Barmash, a New York Times retail reporter from 1965 to 1991 whose byline was well-known, died Thursday. He was 84.

Isadore BarmashBarmash, according to an obituary in the New York Times, continued to write even after he retired from the paper.

Robert McFadden wrote, “In the genteelly cutthroat world of retail merchandising, where greed, secrets, backbiting and other skulduggery often lurk behind the facades of fashion, marketing and merger announcements, Mr. Barmash took his readers beyond the glitz of the selling floors and the closed doors of executive suites.

“Besides chronicling the fortunes and failings of big department stores like Macy’s, Gimbel’s, Saks and Bloomingdale’s, discount chains like Korvettes and myriad small businesses, Mr. Barmash covered fashion trends, the explosion of credit cards, leveraged buyouts, executive fights, corporate missteps, bankruptcies and hidden biases that affected black, Hispanic and female aspirants for management.

“In a career that spanned more than four decades, Mr. Barmash worked for Fairchild Publications in the early 1950s, was managing editor of Women’s Wear Daily from 1955 to 1963 and was a reporter for The New York Herald Tribune in 1963 and 1964. He joined The Times in 1965 and retired in 1991, but continued for a decade to write freelance articles and books on retailing.

“‘He was a legendary figure on the beat and one of the toughest and most gracious competitors I ever had,’ said Hank Gilman, deputy managing editor of Fortune magazine, who wrote for The Wall Street Journal when he knew Mr. Barmash in the early to mid-1980s.”

Read more here.

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