Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bloomingdale's: Glossy Interiors and Increased Upscale Merchandise

Bloomingdale's definitely has a sense of place. Black-and-white checkered floors. Pale pink cosmetics counters. Arguably good customer service (if sales associates calling you to tell you about sales is a good thing). And all kinds of new, upscale designer vendors. 

In the 90's until recently, things went a bit downhill for Bloomingdale's...


Bloomingdale's in Chicago used to be, arguably, a world-class upscale department store. In 1989, the women's top-of-the-line designers included Giorgio Armani Black Label (it's priciest ready-to-wear), a Chanel boutique, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan Collection, Genny, Anne Klein, Yves Saint Laurent, Ungaro, Sonia Rykiel, Claude Montana, Fendi, Calvin Klein Collection, Karl Lagerfeld, and a Christian Lacroix boutique. Oprah even shopped there. Over time, things took a turn for the worst for Bloomingdale's, and now high-end women's designers are almost non-existent at the Chicago Bloomingdale's.  Other Bloomingdale's stores shared similar down-scaling.

For a while, outside the New York City and Chestnut Hill, Mass. Bloomindale's stores, the designer offerings at Bloomingdale's appeared to only be a step above Macy's.  Fortunately, things have since improved.

Updates to Bloomingdale's have included increasingly concentrating on women's accessories. Prada, Miu Miu, Jimmy Choo, and Dior accessory boutiques opened at the Manhattan flagship Spring 2010. These vendors may follow in other locations (Dior and Choo shops are in San Francisco's Bloomingdale's for example). Other Bloomingdale's stores have expanded their accessory shop offerings. I was recently in the Costa Mesa, California Bloomingdales, to be greeted by lovely Chanel and Vuitton accessory shops at either side of the second-floor entrance (not to mention shops for Ferragamo and Fendi). Bloomingdale's carries some other luxury ladies accessories designers, including Chloe, Longchamp, Burberry, Sonia Rykiel, Links of London, and David Yurman.

Bloomingdale's at Westfield San Francisco Centre

Bloomingdale's Manhattan flagship carries some top-of-the-line ladies ready-to-wear, including Giorgio Armani Black Label and Chanel. Chanel RTW is also in the Chestnut Hill, Mass. store. Other Bloomingdale's stores used to carry Chanel RTW (Chicago, Miami-Aventura, and a couple of others I don't remember), but no longer. The prudent fashion-label-watcher will notice an interesting correlation between the loss of Chanel boutiques at Bloomingdale's and the increase in Chanel boutiques at various Nordstrom stores.

Bloomingdale's in Costa Mesa, California, opened with an Armani Black Label shop. The Black Label shop has since closed. Bloomies Costa Mesa still carries Armani Collezioni and Akris Punto for women. It's still a nice department store, even if some wall-sign letters are missing . It has a sense of place that Nordstrom and most Saks Fifth Avenue stores generally lack, and I think Bloomingdale's has excellent growth potential in the United States and internationally (it recently opened a store in Dubai, UAE).

Bloomingdale's needs to renovate some of its older stores. Century City (Los Angeles California) is a prime example. It's somewhat dull and lacking the 'sense of place' gained by the more recent increased use of black marble accents and black-and-white checkered floors.  Bloomingdale's needs to fully implement its interior-uniqueness in all its stores if it expects to differentiate itself, physically, from competitors such as Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor.

Bloomingdale's Century City... could use more black branding

Bloomingdale's: Flashy, fun, unique, glamorous, and sometimes needing some updating.  Despite the need for some updating, Bloomingdale's is well on its way to becoming an even more successful retail concept through its uniquely executed branding and retail environments.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Look at the bottom of your receipt from your last purchase.

bloomingdales customer service