In what has to be seen as a sign of the economic times, high-end department store Bloomingdale’s announced it will be taking its first steps into the outlet store arena. The move was announced last Thursday by Bloomingdale’s parent company Macy’s Inc., and is being perceived as an attempt to attract bargain-conscious shoppers looking for style on a budget.
According to Macy’s CEO Terry J. Lundgren, the company has been looking into the “off-mail outlet business for some time, and the timing now is right given the consumer’s particular focus on value in addition to fashion and quality.”
Other high-end department stores, such as Nordstrom’s and Sak Fifth Avenue, have experience benefits from opening up off-price outlets, which seem to not be as susceptible to the economic downturn. And now it looks like Bloomingdale’s is finally following suit.
The first four outlets will open this year in the following locations: the Dolphin Mall in Miami. FL; Bergen Town Center in Paramus, NJ; Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, FL; and Potomac Mills in Woodbridge, VA. They are planned to open over the course of the summer and fall. It is expected that more outlet openings will be announced in 2011.
The 25,000-square-foot outlets will carry a combination of new merchandise and clearance from Bloomingdale’s traditional stores. As with those traditional stores, this merchandise will include apparel and accessories for women, men and children.Macy’s Inc. has been hit rather hard lately, reporting a loss of $116 million over the first three quarters of 2009, with revenue dropping 14 percent to $15.64 billion. Up until now, the company’s attempts to cut its losses have included job cuts, lower capital spending, aggressive cost-cutting and reducing contributions to employee retirement funds.